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Group Read > Mockingbird - August 2009

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message 1: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 13 comments Folks, I am enjoying this read but have found a really irritating mistake...He says Emmett Till was killed in Alabama. So not true! Mississippi.....arrggghh....


message 2: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Bah Humbug!!


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments I reluctantly picked up the book today. The review I read wasn't that great.

From Publishers Weekly
Few novels are as beloved and acclaimed as To Kill a Mockingbird and even fewer authors have shunned the spotlight as successfully as its author. Although journalist Shields interviewed 600 of Harper Lee's acquaintances and researched the papers of her childhood friend Truman Capote, he is no match for the elusive Lee, who stopped granting interviews in 1965 and wouldn't talk to him. Much of this first full-length biography of Lee is filled with inconsequential anecdotes focusing on the people around her, while the subject remains stubbornly out of focus. Shields enlivens Lee's childhood by pointing out people who were later fictionalized in her novel. The book percolates during her banner year of 1960, when she won the Pulitzer Prize and helped Capote research In Cold Blood. Capote's papers yield some of Lee's fascinating first-person insights on the emotionally troubled Clutter family that were tempered in his book. Shields believes Lee abandoned her second novel when her agents and her editor—her surrogate family in publishing—died or left the business, leaving her with no support system. There's a tantalizing anecdote about a true-crime project Lee was researching in the mid-'80s that faded away. Sputtering to a close, the final chapter covers the last 35 years in 24 pages. It's also baffling that this affectionate biography ends with three paragraphs devoted to someone slamming her classic work. (June 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.



message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American author known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Here is a link to her Wiki bio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper_Lee

Photo's of Harper Lee

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en...



Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I've started reading, but will reserve judgment for a few more chapters. So far I'm not learning a whole lot new - but because I taught TKAM for so many years, I sought out information about Harper Lee and had files on her.


message 6: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments I'm holding off until August, but I do have the book. Right now I'm reading Cutting For Stone and I'll finish that first.

Kate


message 7: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 13 comments Sherry (sethurner) wrote: "I've started reading, but will reserve judgment for a few more chapters. So far I'm not learning a whole lot new - but because I taught TKAM for so many years, I sought out information about Harpe..."

I didn't really know anything about her at all, other than she wasn't dead and Dill was modeled after Truman Capote, so I have learned quite a bit.


message 8: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Many of the reviews on Goodreads from people who have read the book are not as bad as all that. As a fan of TKAM I am with those who just want to learn more about Harper Lee. Other than the fact that many of her characters are modeled after people she knew and that she had totally withdrawn and never published anything further I really don't know much. And if it weren't for the recent films about Capote I didn't know about her role working with him on In Cold Blood. So -- will start shortly.

Barbara


message 9: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Barbara, I didn't realize the connection to Truman C and In Cold Blood either until I saw the films. I'm looking forward to the book, but I have a ways to go to get through Cutting For Stone.

kate


message 10: by Alias Reader (last edited Jul 26, 2009 07:53AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments Cathy--but have found a really irritating mistake...He says Emmett Till was killed in Alabama. So not true! Mississippi
-------------------------

That is certainly very sloppy research. How than is one to confidence in the veracity of the book?

As noted in the review I posted, the sources for the book are all second hand.




message 11: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments That definitely bothers me and I agree -- how can you have confidence in other facts as presented.
Sloppy writing or sloppy editing or both.


message 12: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments Page 16 Not a spoiler

"Living in this trash were rats as big as cats, long assumed to be the lords of the underworld until one night a worker saw an alligator swimming sinuously toward him. the city hunted down dozens of reptile in the ensuing weeks, all of them dumped into the sewers by pet owners"
=========================

This is an urban myth. To write this without a caveat is wrong. But then that wouldn't have fit the picture he was trying to portray of NYC. For a writer who says in his intro that he did research on Google for the book, it would have taken him under one minute to at least note that this is an urban myth or give some other type of disclaimer.

If the author is not going to question any of the second hand info he gets from his "sources" this is going to a long read indeed!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewer_al...

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/alli...

http://www.snopes.com/critters/lurker...




Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I noticed that too (about the alligators in the sewers of NYC).


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Alias, sounds like you'd like to give this author forty whacks with a wet noodle! Seriously, don't authors have fact checkers, as well as publishers to check out things like this -- which should stand out to anyone with a basic education?

Donna in Southern Maryland
(Wondering if Our Miss Alias will get perturbed enough to throw THIS book across the room!?!?)


message 15: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments Donna
Wondering if Our Miss Alias will get perturbed enough to throw THIS book across the room!?!?)
-----------------------------------------
I am only up to page 31 and very close ! I'll give it another day or two. If things don't improve, I'll move on to a library book that is in transit to me.




message 16: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments I laughed when I saw the Chapter 1 footnote 11, that his source for the notion that there "wasn't enough garbage cans supplied by the city, so some protesting resident dumped trash in the gutters" is a letter to the editor not a news report !

Also some footnotes are letters to the author in 2005, concerning then non famous Harper in the 1930's. That a pretty good 70+ year memory for things that really weren't of much significance.




Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments I finished my Catherine Coulter book, KnockOut An FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter

so I was able to start Mockingbird this evening. Those of you who know me, know that one of my pecularities is that I always read the last page or paragraph.

For some strange reason, I ended up reading the entire last chapter first! :o) It read like a pleasant magazine article, I won't say any more than that. Now I'll go back and start at the beginning. :o)

Donna in Southern Maryland


message 18: by Sherry (sethurner) (last edited Jul 29, 2009 08:22AM) (new)

Sherry (sethurner) (sthurner) I read about 100 pages today, and while this one probably won't make my top 10, I'm now finding it quick and painless. I am glad I recently watched Mona Lisa Smile, because that is helping me understand the ways Nelle Lee didn't fit in.


message 19: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "It read like a pleasant magazine article, ."
---------------------------------

A women's magazine article is about the depth of the book, IMO. As one Amazon reviewer noted, and I agree 100%, it seems as if he took his research of antidotes and facts, and just strung them together in chronological order. It all seems quite superficial to me. Maybe it will get better as I read on. I hope so, as I find myself zoning out as I read.


message 20: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I hope all those who like women's magazine articles aren't offended. LOL
But seriously I don't feel that everything I read has to be particularly deep. Some things are just for the fun of it.

Barbara


message 21: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Barbara said: "But seriously I don't feel that everything I read has to be particularly deep. Some things are just for the fun of it."

I haven't nearly started reading Mockingbird yet because I'm still in the deeps of The Congo in The Poisonwood Bible and it's not August!

But I completely agree with you, Barbara. Not everything has to be deep or edifying or enlightening or significant. I read for fun.

Jan O'Cat


message 22: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Oh gosh, I agree with both Jan and Barbara. Reading is my escape and I read for fun. Though I like to be challenged at times I also welcome something that is an easy read. I'm finishing up Cutting for Stone and I'll welcome the August selection when I start it on Saturday.

kate


message 23: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I don't think this is a spoiler -- but -- started Mockingbird and after reading about alligators in the sewers what actually struck me even funnier was the thought that someone would get a warning from an officer for jaywalking at the corner of 86th and Lex in Manhattan.

I think this very southern writer just doesn't know NYC as well as he thinks he does.

Barbara


message 24: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12749 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Also some footnotes are letters to the author in 2005, concerning then non famous Harper in the 1930's. That a pretty good 70+ year memory for things that really weren't of much significance."

Am i alone in feeling that her privacy has been infringed? I realize that as a well known person, she is fodder for anyone but the fact that she didn't talk to the author makes me sad for her. Otoh, it appears that many close to her (maybe "once close to her" might be a better description) did cooperate makes me wonder, too.

As for those long memories, i wish the author would remember just that. I'm sure those who shared have offered those memories earlier, as their "touch with greatness" stories, so i guess the stories have been around some time. However, whether they've been tempered with their more recent interactions with her is a question i have.

Additionally, there have been a couple of things he's written that i want to know more about but they aren't footnoted. This bothers me--where did that tidbit come from? One example is in chapter 2. Shields wrote about the town square, ending with the jailhouse. He writes that prisoners lowered a can with money so someone would buy cigarettes & such, leaving a bit extra for a tip. There is no footnote. Because i wanted to hear more about this, i was disappointed.

deborah




message 25: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments
Madrano: Am i alone in feeling that her privacy has been infringed? I realize that as a well known person, she is fodder for anyone but the fact that she didn't talk to the author makes me sad for her. Otoh, it appears that many close to her (maybe "once close to her" might be a better description) did cooperate makes me wonder, too.

===================================

Here is a link that explain the law regarding un-authorized bios.

In a way if we only had authorized bio's of living people, you might get a biased view of the subject.
An unauthorized bio does give a counter balance to that. That said, this bio of Harper seems to be very favorable to her. (at least the 100 pages I read). Maybe because there is that lawsuit to worry about if you libel her.

FYI-- The correct term to use. A mnemonic to help remember the correct word is:
S-first letter in slander and first letter in spoken.

libel --for written words
slander--for spoken words

I've started to read Columbine because it is a library book I can't renew.

http://www.publaw.com/biography.html


message 26: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments I'm curious Deborah. What were you hoping to learn about the prisoners and the lowered cans? I was surprised that such a thing was allowed. I wonder how often the money was just taken without making the purchases, or how often the can was simply ignored. Hmmm.........guess maybe I had some unanswered questions too. Like, what would stop someone from sending up contraband in the can? Simpler times maybe....


message 27: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12749 comments kate/Edukate12 wrote: "I'm curious Deborah. What were you hoping to learn about the prisoners and the lowered cans? I was surprised that such a thing was allowed."

Kate, i was wondering how often this happened, if it was a one-time thing, why it was allowed & if kids were the usual "helpers." I felt that some sort of attribution would have answered some of the questions, particularly whether it tended to be older kids or if Nelle & Truman did it, young as they were. (I don't think that back then they had age requirements for cigarettes but i'm thinking merchants still might not be willing to sell to youngsters.) Not that these questions would be in any footnotes but i wondered also where the prisoners got the can & string. The whole story sounded fishy, frankly. It may have happened but isolated incidents.

deb




message 28: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12749 comments Alias Reader wrote: "In a way if we only had authorized bio's of living people, you might get a biased view of the subject.
An unauthorized bio does give a counter balance to that."


It wasn't really the "unauthorized" issue that was my problem. Nancy Reagan or movie stars live by their publicity, so i feel they are fair game, authorized or not. However, Lee has apparently shunned publicity since the 70s, for the most part. This is where i feel the infringement is.

deborah




message 29: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Cathy (Catsluvbooks) wrote: "Folks, I am enjoying this read but have found a really irritating mistake...He says Emmett Till was killed in Alabama. So not true! Mississippi.....arrggghh...."

Cathy,
I just came to this reference last night. I'm reading the trade paperback edition published, it looks like, a year after the hardcover. The mistake has been corrected because mine says Till was killed in Mississippi.

Jan O'Cat




message 30: by OMalleycat (last edited Aug 05, 2009 10:56AM) (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Alias quoted PW: "Capote's papers yield some of Lee's fascinating first-person insights on the emotionally troubled Clutter family that were tempered in his book."

This is the part I'm interested in reading. As someone, probably Sherry, said, I've read a lot about Harper Lee over the years so most of what I've read of Mockingbird so far is either dull or known to me.

I was always under the impression that Truman Capote was a distant cousin of Lee's but Shields makes not one reference to that. Is this a misremembering on my part?

I can understand some readers' negative reaction to the book as Shields is not a very good writer. Some of his sentences are so awkward that I have to read them 3 or 4 times to figure out what he's saying.

His handling of time lines and topics also bothers me. Certainly biographers don't usually stick to a strictly chronological timeline and often organize their subject by topics. There's something clumsy about the way Shields does this that jars me. For instance, in the section I just read comparing Atticus' racial tolerance with A.C. Lee's developing racial tolerance, Shields starts with Lee editing the book, segues to A.C. Lee's record of social conservatism evolving to tolerance by the mid 60's, then takes up an anecdote about Alice Lee at a Methodist convention in the mid 60's, then suddenly we're back to the late 50's with Harper Lee still editing.

I don't know how other authors handle this because it's not usually something I notice, but the time jumps are jarring to me.

I'm not so bothered by the sources as others of you are. Many times this is the way biographies and histories are constructed. Not every subject's every move is exhaustively recorded in public records. I think Shields was rather resourceful in collecting reminisce as he describes: by contacting fellow alumni and following chains of contacts.

I may be more tolerant of this method of collection having just read Lincoln's Melancholy. Shortly after the President's assassination, his friend and law partner began a decades long process of collecting people's memories and accounts of Lincoln's life back to boyhood. Had he not done it, all of that record, however much it may be questioned as reminisce and hearsay, would be lost. I do think that Shields has done a service as it appears that Harper Lee's lifelong shun of publicity might have buried much of the story of her life had Shields not collected what he has. Since she is so longlived she will outlive many who might not have talked until after her death, if then.

Now, it will be to others to organize it and write it better.

Jan O'Cat


message 31: by OMalleycat (last edited Aug 05, 2009 10:57AM) (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Oh, I don't mean to be a historian nag, but letters, emails, reminisce and things like Nelle's actual writings for the school papers aren't "secondhand" sources. They're primary sources.

Now if Shields were quoting a magazine article someone else had written about reminiscing emails, that would be a secondhand source.

I haven't come yet to the part sourced from a letter to the editor but sources such as this are legitimate windows to the tenor of the times. They help set the scene.

Editing: I just looked above and found that the letter-to-the-editor source was in Chapter 1 so I've come to that part, but it evidently didn't bother me. LOL!

Jan O'Cat


message 32: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Sherry said: "I am glad I recently watched Mona Lisa Smile, because that is helping me understand the ways Nelle Lee didn't fit in."

It does help to have a context, doesn't it? It's hard to imagine the amount of repression of individuality and the lack of any alternative lifestyle for women other than the "MRS degree" and motherhood.

Still I find myself very troubled by Nelle's isolation and "differentness" as a child and college student. She developed close and supportive relationships in New York, so we know she was capable of friendships. I wonder if she was stigmatized more than we know in Monroeville by her mother's strange behavior. Or by her friendship with Capote who had far more reason to have developed social pathologies.

I'm nowhere near the end of the book and her more recent life, but I also find it troubling that she went back to Monroeville when it strikes me that she wasn't very happy there.

Jan O'Cat


message 33: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Deborah said: "He writes that prisoners lowered a can with money so someone would buy cigarettes & such, leaving a bit extra for a tip. There is no footnote. Because i wanted to hear more about this, i was disappointed. "

I was struck by this, Deborah, so it's funny to see that both you and Kate were also. I first wondered where the prisoners would have gotten the money. If they were free to lower a can by a string, what would stop them from lowering a bag and having someone send up a weapon? But I'm probably thinking too much in my modern mind and I explained it to myself as a possibly apocryphal anecdote that gives an impression of the gentle smalltown atmosphere.

It reminded me of something that would have gone on in Andy Griffith's jail. :-)

Jan O'Cat


message 34: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I am enjoying learning more about "Nelle" and thank you Jan for reminding us of the meaning of primary sources.
Just got up to the section where the Till murder is mentioned. Even though it is wrong in my edition the description of the mood of the time and the effect that it had on A.C. Lee was much more important to me.

Oh, one of the sections that tickled me was his description of the college girls wearing cardigan sweaters back to front. I got a big kick out of that.
Forgot we did that.

Barbara


message 35: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Barbara said: "Oh, one of the sections that tickled me was his description of the college girls wearing cardigan sweaters back to front. I got a big kick out of that.
Forgot we did that."


Barbara, I assumed that was a very local custom! Was it a "style?" Was there a reason, or just a fad?

Jan O'Cat


message 36: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Barbara said: Oh, one of the sections that tickled me was his description of the college girls wearing cardigan sweaters back to front. I got a big kick out of that.
Forgot we did that.


And Jan said: Barbara, I assumed that was a very local custom! Was it a "style?" Was there a reason, or just a fad?

I'm not Barbara, but it was very much a style. I just read an article in Vanity Fair about the school Jackie Kennedy attended as a girl and this style was mentioned. I'm not all that old,.........no really.........but I remember either hearing about it or doing it. Now when I think about it I think I'd be highly annoyed at the feel of the tag area around my throat.

Kate





message 37: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I guess the cardigan thing was a fad/style. That was in the 50s. So you didn't need to have the "set". You could just wear the cardigan. I don't remember it being any more annoying than a turtle neck is.
That sweater and pearls thing. LOL


message 38: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments JanOMalleycat wrote: His handling of time lines and topics also bothers me. Certainly biographers don't usually stick to a strictly chronological timeline and often organize their subject by topics. There's something clumsy about the way Shields does this that jars me. For instance, in the section I just read comparing Atticus' racial tolerance with A.C. Lee's developing racial tolerance, Shields starts with Lee editing the book, segues to A.C. Lee's record of social conservatism evolving to tolerance by the mid 60's, then takes up an anecdote about Alice Lee at a Methodist convention in the mid 60's, then suddenly we're back to the late 50's with Harper Lee still editing.
.."

=========================

I also think the transitioning from the subject matter to excerpts from TKAM and Truman's book to be not smooth. At times it reads like filler. At other times it blurs reality with characters in the book. I understand wanting to posit a possible real life model or event that made it into the TKAM or one of Truman's books, but it's done poorly. Maybe as you noted, Jan, it's that the book is not well written and could have been done better.




message 39: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19987 comments JanOMalleycat wrote: "Oh, I don't mean to be a historian nag, but letters, emails, reminisce and things like Nelle's actual writings for the school papers aren't "secondhand" sources. They're primary sources.
."

--------------------

Many of the sources are the reminisces of what other people recall from 70 years ago. It's not clear that they were witnesses to these events or if they were just impression of things they heard about her. The author wrote to people and they wrote letters back. Memories can be inexact, memories fade, can merge with stories one hears from others over the years and memories can be subject to exaggeration and lies.




message 40: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12749 comments Several folks here have written better than i could about the problems with the book. I'm particularly disturbed by the jumping timelines & the sense of "filler", which Alias mentioned. Since i haven't read much about Lee, it's mostly new material when it's about her. However, when he's just telling general stuff about the era, i feel someone told him to "stretch it".

I'm not having a problem with reading the book, however. While i'm not rushing to it eagerly, when i settle down with it, i'm easily caught up again.

Jan, you mentioned thinking Capote was a cousin. I don't remember thinking that, only that he lived with cousins. Isn't it incredible that one small town could claim these two remarkable authors? Astounding.

deborah


message 41: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Barbara said: I guess the cardigan thing was a fad/style. That was in the 50s.

Well if it was in the 50's I didn't actually do it, but I remember reading about it I guess.

Kate<-----------seasoned, but not quite THAT seasoned


message 42: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments I haven't read much about Lee at all, so much of this material is either new or fleshed out for me. The book isn't calling me, but like Deborah, when I get to it, I'm interested.

kate


message 43: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I am wondering whether some of his material involving general stuff about the era is a function of his having been more of a writer of material for youth as they might need more explanation of background. Just a thought.

All you say is true Alias about memories. But they are still primary sources. I recently finished having the experience of being interviewed for a book -- if it comes out in the winter which is the current release projection I'll let you know who it is about. I cannot guarantee that everyone of my memories was absolutely perfect but the author is supposed to sort that out. And there was an instance where one of his sources had an inaccurate memory which I was able to correct. Sometimes it was a matter of what year of a campaign something happened. Sometimes it was what people's functions were.

So -- I think the best thing for us all to remember is to read with a critical eye. As in -- just because it is the newspaper doesn't mean that it is true. I have been to meetings that were covered in a newspaper and when I read the article wondered if I had been in the same place as the reporter. And so -- just because it is in a book doesn't mean that it is correct. Always a good prospective.

Barbara


message 44: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Barbara said: " 1698415 I am wondering whether some of his material involving general stuff about the era is a function of his having been more of a writer of material for youth as they might need more explanation of background."

Barbara, I've had a similar thought about what feels to me like sloppy handling of topics and time jumps. Younger readers might not notice the rough segues.

And my thought about the accuracy of memories is that all of history is like that. People's perception of the same event will vary and memories are always inaccurate. Think of all the research on the accuracy of eye-witness accounts. Historians pick and choose and compare accounts to try to come up with "the truth."

History is NOT a set of concrete facts but a constantly developing melange of facts and interpretations. Again I refer anyone interested in this process to Lincoln's Melancholy How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness in which the author explores the development of ideas and beliefs about Lincoln, particularly his mental health, over the years.

Shield's book is the ground floor of Harper Lee's biography. I'm willing to bet that more information and further impressions of her will emerge in future years, particularly after her death. I'm also willing to bet that the story of her life will always be subject to a lot of interpretation as she's kept so much private and there's pastiche involved in putting together a chronological story.

Barbara, how was the experience of being interviewed for a book? I think I'd find it fun and intimidating.

I've come to the part of Mockingbird where Truman and Nelle are in Kansas researching the Clutter murders. I'm struck again by the fact that the Kansans find Nelle warm, personable, attractive, and likeable despite her persona during childhood and college. I can't help but wonder what made her so off-putting at one time in her life and not so later.

Jan O'Cat


message 45: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Jan said,And my thought about the accuracy of memories is that all of history is like that.

I absolutely agree.

Yes, the experience of being interviewed was fun and intimadating. The intimidating part has to do with wondering how what I said will be presented. Ouch!! So I am still nervous about that.

I am at the same place in the book that you are. I love the reaction of the people to Truman. When she says that they looked at him as if he came from the moon all I can say is "I can only imagine."

Barbara




message 46: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Barbara said: "When she says that they looked at him as if he came from the moon all I can say is "I can only imagine." "

In 1950's Western Kansas, I can only imagine. When I first saw him in the 60's on a talk show I kind of thought he was from the moon myself.

Nelle's impressions of the Clutter family and relationships are so well thought. It gives a window into the kind of insight and observation she had to capture the characters in TKAM so engagingly.

Jan O'Cat


message 47: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Barbara said: I am at the same place in the book that you are. I love the reaction of the people to Truman. When she says that they looked at him as if he came from the moon all I can say is "I can only imagine."

Several years ago one of the shows in my B'way series was called "Truman". Or was it "Tru"??? Anyway, it was about the last years of Capote's life. It was reviewed in the paper, but apparently the elderly couple sitting behind us hadn't read the reviews. After about two minutes of the actor playing Capote speaking I hear this lady lean to her husband and say "Jim, I don't think this is about Harry Truman". LOLOL......Cincinnati is a very conservative city. I think they left at intermission. Capote would not have been well received here.

kate



message 48: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Harry Truman -- that is hysterical.
Yes, the show was called "Tru". I saw it on Bway with Bobby Morse who won a Tony for it. He was terrific.

Capote was definitely about as far out as one could get.

Barbara


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments For me, much of this book is reading like a college freshman wrote it; I agree with what's been said: jumpy, awkward, not poilished writing. I thought this author WAS a college professor? (Not sure and the book is not close.)

In spite of all that, what has caused me the most interest in the geographical setting. While we lived in Montgomery, I had visited Monroeville several times. I had a couple of Tupperware Parties in that area, also went to the Vanity Fair Outlet, which I understand has now closed.

He also talked about her father and Chipley, FLorida, a sweet little town I have visited many times. My maternal grandmother lived in Alford, FLorida, not too far from Chipley, and Marianna, which is also mentioned. If you are ever traveling through northwest Florida on I - 10, take a detour to take a look at a little town as pretty as you will ever see - that's Chipley.

I've also foound the description of the times interesting, as my mother was born in 1932 and raised in that area, so some stories seem familiar; though my mother's people lived out in the country, and were much poorer.

Someone mentioned the tin can and the money at the jail. From the stories I've been told, I can see that happening. Sure there were crooks, but this was a time and place where people were much more strongly governed by rules -- and if they messed it up, the privilege would have been lost.

Will be interested to get to the Kansas part of the book.....

Donna in Southern Maryland


message 50: by OMalleycat (new)

OMalleycat | 89 comments Mild spoilers to page 198 or so. . .
*
*
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I'm to the part where they're making the movie. I saw the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird when I was a kid, long before I read the book. So Gregory Peck has always been Atticus Finch for me.

When Shields reports that Peck used his star power to substantially change the movie so that it emphasized Atticus, it makes me wonder if I would have perceived the book differently had I read it first. Although Shields says that the book is more about the kids and the movie about Atticus, I think that although Atticus' storyline may occupy a smaller percentage of page count in the book vs. minute count in the movie, he is clearly the towering central figure in both works.

Anyway it's funny to read about the possible casting of Atticus before Peck signed on. I can understand Nelle wanting Spencer Tracy because he more nearly resembles her dad in appearance and age. But (don't shoot me for this) I'm not much of a Tracy fan. He would be too bombastic in the role, I think. With Peck it's his voice that makes Atticus who he is and his quiet dignity.

But: Bing Crosby? Rock Hudson? Robert Wagner????

It sure would have been a different movie!

Jan O'Cat


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