Ruminating On: Harper Lee and her new book

I love a good conspiracy theory, and I have one for you today. What if Alice Lee, Harper’s sister, didn’t have Harper’s best interest in mind. I’m hearing a lot of supposition about how this new book is only being published because Harper’s protector is gone, that Harper was this fragile flower that needed watching out for, lest the big bad wolves come to gobble her all up. But isn’t this the same woman who partied with Capote and other eccentric personalities?

I postulate that Alice was keeping Harper as some kind of hostage. My conspiracy theory suggests that Alice was not looking out for Harper’s wellbeing, but trying to maintain her hold over a controllable sibling. Before Harper’s success in the literary world, Alice was a big deal. A female lawyer in a time when women were mostly relegated to the kitchen and the birthing bed. How dare Harper try to outshine Alice. The unmitigated gall!

Then Alice dies, and the wolves come. The wolves convert her masterpiece (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) into ebook form. What an atrocity, right? Converting the book into a digital format completely destroyed the book and ruined it for an entire generation of readers, right? The same will happen with GO SET A WATCHMAN. The sequel will lessen the original in every way. It will damage Harper Lee’s hermit status and cause a third world war, wherein we’re all overcome and ruled by flesh-eating manatees. Our sexual organs will be removed, dried, and sprinkled over Truman Capote’s gravesite.

My point is this: You can theorize and postulate and speculate however you want. The truth of the matter is, no one knows. No one knows what kind of relationship Alice and Harper had. No one knows why Harper Lee never wrote another book. The rage of detractors is unfounded, as is the excitement of fans. This book could very well be a shitty money grab perpetrated against the wishes of a stroke victim, or it could be a buried gem.

Your guess is as good as mine.

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