Glass ceilings and mockingbirds

What a fun & full weekend! On Saturday we met my parents at the MFA & saw the Chihuly Glass exhibit (amazing! look at that ceiling in the big photo below!)

But the real reason we went was to see Hey, Boo!, a feature-length documentary about Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. Definitely see it if you get the chance. It was surprisingly emotional for me and, judging from the sniffling and wiping away of tears around me, I wasn't the only one. (Obsession alert! I've also written about Harper Lee here and here)

A few take-aways:

1. I always thought that To Kill a Mockingbird sprung sort of fully formed from the mind of Nelle Harper Lee. But it actually took a LOT of work and two years of grueling rewrites even after she finished the initial story. 

2. Two friends (a married couple by the name of Brown) believed so heartily in her talent as a writer that they gave her a Christmas gift of enough $ to support her for a year so she could quit her job as an airline reservations clerk and dedicate herself to writing. She said it was not so much the $ but their complete faith in her that carried her through the creation of the book. What fantastic friends, definitely fifth business material.

3. She started law school but quit to be awriter. Sometimes quitting is good.

4. Atticus is based loosely on her own father, A.C. Lee, who was a member of the state legislature, an attorney, and an editor for Monroeville's newspaper. (I just found a great LA Times article about Lee's last interview and some of her influences here.)

4. While the character of Scout definitely embodies Lee's characteristics as a young girl, over the years she has come to feel more akin to Boo Radley as the media and well-meaning, curious fans have sought to bring her out of her private isolation. "Know what'd happen then? All the ladies in Maycomb includin' my wife'd be knocking on his door bringing angel food cakes. To my way of thinkin', Mr. Finch, taking the one man who's done you and this town a great service an' draggin' him with his shy ways into the limelight – to me, that's a sin. It's a sin and I'm not about to have it on my head. If it was any other man, it'd be different. But not this man, Mr. Finch...Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."  Although meeting her is one of my dreams, I suppose reading her book is enough for me, too.

. . .

Click here for a clip of the documentary, a portion of the section on Scout.