At the start of COVID lockdown, I decided to deviate from my normal choice of Sci-fi and Fantasy novels and look into Obama’s reading list to find my next book. The one that stood out to me was Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep.
This book not only covers an odd string of murders in Alabama that Harper Lee was once interested in, but it also dives deep into the life and journey of the author Harper Lee herself.
I found it to be an amazing read. As someone who, personally, only likes specific types of non-fiction novels, I found that Cep to be a great, creative storyteller. The book left me really pondering Lee’s life and her struggles with the pressure of coming up with another novel after the insane success of To Kill A Mockingbird.
Harper Lee: The Inner Struggles of a Renowned Writer
Does life become easier or harder after your book becomes a bestseller? What if it turns into more than that? Becomes a massive success? A great hit? A classic taught in schools across the nation? Are you a perfectionist writer who will never be able to accept this? Will the added pressure to come out with something just as good become your downfall? So many of us strive for greatness and success but don’t stop to really question what that success will mean once it is achieved.
I think Lee’s story can be a humbling one. One that reminds us that we all can be far too hyper-critical when it comes to analyzing our own selves. I also think this book opened me up to the enigma that was Harper Lee. Written from an outsider perspective, a few years after her death, we are shown her actions, feelings, and emotional responses. All without really being able to understand the reasons behind them. Some are easy enough to deduce while others, just like the deaths surrounding Reverend Willie Maxwell, will remain a mystery.
If this novel or topic interests you at all, I highly recommend that you check out the book for yourself. Then, after you read it, tell me what you think. I would really love to hear how others feel about all topics Cep covers.