To Kill a Mockingbird: the book forced upon you by your ninth grade English teacher.
But once you finally made your way to the library and flipped through the pages, you quickly realized this novel hardly seemed like “required” reading.
The beautiful mind behind the 1960 literary masterpiece, Nelle Harper Lee, sadly passed away Friday morning at age 89. Multiple sources in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama confirmed her death.
Born in 1926, Harper Lee was the daughter of lawyer Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee.
(See some names and occupations that look familiar?!)
In 1957, Lee submitted her manuscript for “To Kill a Mockingbird” to J.B. Lippincott & Co. By July 11, 1960, Lee’s novel was published and was immediately met with both criticism and success.
To Kill a Mockingbird touches upon heavy issues of racism and life in the deep South. The book tells the story of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Lee herself grew up in the South and based much of the award-winning novel on her childhood experiences and observations. The New York Times wrote that Lee even considered young tomboy Scout Finch, the book’s narrator, as her own alter ego.
One year after its publication, Lee deservingly earned the Pulitzer Prize for her work.
Lee withdrew from public life quickly after To Kill a Mockingbird was initially published but reappeared in old age last year with the highly publicized release of the manuscript Go Set a Watchman.
Through her writing, Lee singlehandedly brought controversial issues to light, paved the way for important discussions and gave us iconic characters that will forever tug our heartstrings (#teamAtticus4ever). To date, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over 40 million copies and is considered one of the most beloved novels in literary history.
‘Tis a truly sad day for bookworms everywhere.
Honor the life and work of Lee today. Brew a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, curl up in your comfiest chair, and grab a copy of the classic book.
…and, of course, shamelessly let out your inner Scout. In true Lala-approved fashion, Harper Lee never failed to remind us that strong girls rock.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” -Atticus Finch