Today I finished reading Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters by Tom Santopietro.
The book begins by taking a look at the background of To Kill a Mockingbird and the life of Harper Lee in Monroeville, Alabama. We are shown how her childhood spent in Monroeville along with growing up with Truman Capote helped shape this classic novel.
The creation process of the novel is detailed along with the process of getting it published.
The author then shifts to the story behind the creation of the movie. I will not go into detail but the book explores everything from casting to set creation. There are some very interesting stories about how the set was designed and how costumes were created.
One thing that I found interesting was that they wanted to find children that were not part of the Hollywood establishment to act in the movie. I think that they made some wonderful finds. The two children who played Scout and Jem lived very close to each other but had never met.
It was also interesting to find out who had also been considered to play Atticus. Harper Lee had wanted Spencer Tracy to play the part of Atticus, but he was unavailable.
The book also looked at the future careers of the directors and actors in the movie and how To Kill a Mockingbird affected them throughout their lives.
You may have read Go Set a Watchman which was a manuscript that Harper Lee had tucked away in a safe deposit box. The manuscript was found several years ago and was released before her death. This book also details how the release was approved by Harper Lee. The contrast between the two books and how they each treated racism was also discussed.
I was not as impressed with Go Set a Watchman when I read it, and after reading this book I have more insight into why it almost seemed like it had been written by someone else. Mockingbird had gone through a very heavy editing process and Watchman was released pretty much as it had been found.
I would definitely recommend Why to Kill a Mockingbird Matters to anyone who really likes the book or the movie. You will learn a lot about the creation process of these two wonderful works.
Which do you like better? The book or the movie?
For me, it is the book.
p.s. You may also enjoy a post I wrote two years ago when I learned about the death of Harper Lee. Click on: Harper Lee