Harper Lee: New Book Is Not Authorized

Harper Lee, the reclusive author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is the focus of author Marja Mills’ bio “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee,” which hits shelves Tuesday. Ew.com says: ‘It purports to be a rare in-depth look at the lives of Lee and her sister Alice, borne out of a years-long friendship between Mills, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, and the Lee sisters, whom she moved next door to in 2004. According to the book’s description, Mills “spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.” The Lee sisters, it says, “decided to let Mills tell their story.”

‘But, there’s just one problem. According to a letter penned by none other than 88-year-old Nelle Harper Lee herself — who, mind you, hasn’t written a book since “Mockingbird,” doesn’t grant interviews, and generally stays out of the public eye — “The Mockingbird Next Door” was executed without her cooperation or permission and based on false pretenses. Lee first issued a statement on the matter in 2011 when Penguin Press announced that it had acquired the book. Now, on the evening before its July 15 release, she’s reminding us that nothing has changed on her end.’

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