Sunday, July 11, 2010

Town Celebrates as Mockingbird Turns 50

Harper Lee’s only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published on this day 50 years ago. Lee herself avoids contact with the press and discussion of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book that made -- and some say ended -- her career. However, the people of Monroeville, Alabama, the writer’s childhood hometown, are less camera shy.

Despite the fact that Lee maintains that the book and its setting are entirely fictional, Monroeville has been celebrating its Mockingbird connection for decades and, on this special anniversary, thousands of people are expected to visit. According to NPR, “It’s welcome attention for a small town struggling through the recession.”
Lee doesn’t give interviews anymore, but there are a lot of parallels between her childhood and the book that became one of the most influential works of American literature. She and her main character, Scout, both had fathers who were lawyers. They both had a mysterious neighbor feared by local kids.

While Monroeville isn't the town in the book, it's as close as visitors will ever get.

Much has changed since Lee grew up; her childhood home was razed, and down the road there's a Walmart and McDonald's. But there are still a lot of well-preserved brick buildings from the '20s, and the mighty courthouse in the middle of town square has been turned into a To Kill a Mockingbird museum.
The full piece, including lots of Mockingbird event details and dates, is here.



Blogger Sue Bursztynski said...

I read this one years ago, when I had to teach it. My library has a couple of very old, battered copies with the golden cover. Recently, I bought my own copy, the special fiftieth anniversary hardcover, and have loved it as much as I did the first time. I'm going to get some new copies for my library and finad a very special kids to persuade to read it - there are several I can think of already.

Friday, July 23, 2010 at 10:52:00 PM PDT  

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