Wednesday, July 30, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird: Young Adult or Adult Fiction and Does it Matter?

Harper Lee's classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, is an American classic.  It is part of the fabric, the persona of this nation.  When, dear reader, did you first experience Ms. Lee's book?

Harper Lee says she didn't OK new book about her photo
Harper Lee
Rob Carr (AP Photo)
In Marja Mills’ The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, the reclusive author of American essential To Kill a Mockingbird talks more freely than she has previously about her life through her friendship with Mills, a journalist from The Chicago Tribune.  The book, however, is unauthorized.  Ms. Lee states:

As long as I am alive, any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.

Mills recorded a conversation with Lee who wrote: “She said she felt lucky Mockingbird was published when it was. Much later, and it might have been classified as young adult fiction and never reached the audience, and all the adults, it did.”

Young adult fiction has been a hot topic lately, with the success of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars reaching a mainstream audience through things like a New Yorker profile and a hit movie adaptation. 

If To Kill a Mockingbird had been released even ten years later, it probably would have been sold as a kids’ book.  If it were released now, there’s a chance it would even be marketed as middle grade. In fact, Scout, the narrator is looking back on her life as a ten-year-old child.

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