She is the author of one of the most beloved and seminal books in the English language yet Nelle Harper Lee herself remains mostly a mystery. Within the pages of Mockingbird one is granted a very personal, if fleeting, portrait of Ms. Lee's childhood (along with that of her lifelong friend Truman Capote, one of my favourite authors and of whom I do a spot on impersonation). A fair bit is also known about her life immediately after Mockingbird came out, what with its immediate success and with the immediate success of the equally beloved movie adaptation.
A short time after however Lee resigned herself to a life out of the spotlight. She has granted almost no requests for interviews or public appearances, and with the exception of a few short essays, has published no further writings (two other novels were started but never finished). Over the years Lee has accepted many awards and honorary degrees but has always declined to give a speech. All of this results in a wonderfully talented individual who is ingrained into our collective consciousness, yet as little more than a vague outline.
Filmmaker and author Mary McDonagh Murphy’s new documentary looks to erase at least some of the mystery. Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird (click here to order) explores Lee’s retreat from the public eye and offers a rare glimpse into her life, including never-before-seen documents and photos and an interview with her ninety-nine-year-old sister, Alice Finch Lee. The trailer alone is compelling enough to make one want to immediately buy the DVD, I did.
Coming across this documentary has made me think about reading Mockingbird again...for the umpteenth time. It is also pretty certain that there will be another viewing of the movie very soon. On that note, here is the original trailer for the movie, enjoy.