Despite being the only novel published throughout most of her career, To Kill a Mockingbird made Harper Lee incredibly famous and extremely well-read. Most people know the plot of the book, as well as the movie that was adapted from Lee’s work. There’s so much more to know, though!
Here are nine fun facts about the classic novel:
1) Characters were partially based off of Lee’s childhood
Not only was Scout’s tomboy nature similar to that of Lee’s, their ages were comparable as well. The older brothers in both of their lives were also the same age and Finch was actually the maiden name of Harper Lee’s mother.
2) Lee had an intimate familiarity with the courtroom
Her father was a lawyer who once defended two African-Americans against murder charges, unsuccessfully. Harper often attended her father’s trials.
3) To Kill a Mockingbird was spawned from Go Set a Watchman
Lee first wrote the latter story but was convinced to create the former based on an editor’s love for a flashback featuring Scout. Go Set a Watchman would not see the light of day until shortly before Lee’s death.
4) It is more inspiring than the Bible
According to The Telegraph, a 2009 survey about the most inspirational book of all-time placed To Kill a Mockingbird in first, just above the most read book in human history.
5) Accolades continue…
In addition to being considered more inspirational than the Bible, it was also named the “Greatest Novel of All Time,” in 2008, according to The Telegraph.
6) And some more real-life inspiration
Dill, the neighbor, was based on Truman Capote, her own neighbor in Monroeville, Alabama. They were even said to have shared a typewriter.
7) But not too much inspiration
A rumor once spread that Capote actually wrote the book, not Lee. While he saw the manuscript, it was unlikely that he was involved any further in the production of the book.
8) Scout and Jem have Southern respect
The siblings never call Atticus ‘dad’ or ‘father.’ Instead, they refer to him as ‘Atticus’ throughout the course of the novel.
In public statements following the release of the novel, Lee often said that she regretted writing the book. While it became one of the best-sellers of all time, the author famously lived a reclusive lifestyle and avoided most press queries directed towards her and the book.
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