"One journalist's memoir of her personal friendship with Harper Lee and her sister, drawing on the extraordinary access they gave her to share the story of their lives. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel's celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known by her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door for Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation-and a friendship that has continued ever since. In 2004, with the Lees' encouragement, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, talking and sharing stories over meals and daily drives in the countryside. Along with members of the Lees' tight inner circle, the sisters and Mills would go fishing, feed the ducks, go to the Laundromat, watch the Crimson Tide, drink coffee at McDonald's, and explore all over lower Alabama. Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the quirky Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story-and the South-right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family. The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills's friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle. Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees' life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel"-- Provided by publisher.
"A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living. For almost twenty years I mistook my father's downfall as my own. But it wasn't. It was not my sister's either, nor my mother's. A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith's father was fired after unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct. It's a transgression Andrew cannot forgive, for it brought about long-lasting familial despair. In the wake of the scandal, Andrew's parents limp along, trapped in an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile, Andrew treads water, stuck in a kind of suspended adolescence--falling in and out of school, moving blindly from one half-hearted relationship to the next, slowly killing the nights drinking beer and listening to music with his childhood friends. Broke, Andrew moves back home to his childhood neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia and takes a job alongside his father as a 'remover,' the name for those unseen, unsung workers who take away the bodies of those who die at home. He describes, as only a professional can do, the intimate, horrific, poignant, and occasionally morbidly comedic aspects of handling the dead. Just how do you carry a 500-pound corpse down winding stairs? What actually happens to pacemakers, tooth fillings, surgical screws, artificial hips, and anything else that the deceased has within his or her body? Andrew begins to see his father not through the lens of a wronged and resentful child, but as a sympathetic, imperfect man who loves his family despite his flaws. Eventually the chip on his shoulder starts to lose its weight. Poetic without being florid, and with the literary ability to transform the naturally grotesque into the exquisite, The Removers is a searing story of a young man who finds in death a redemptive path toward the forgiveness of the living, including himself"-- Provided by publisher.
Alice Paul has long been an elusive figure in the political history of American women. Raised by Quaker parents in Moorestown, New Jersey, she would become a passionate and outspoken leader of the woman suffrage movement. In 1913, she reinvigorated the American campaign for a constitutional suffrage amendment and, in the next seven years, dominated that campaign and drove it to victory with bold, controversial action, wedding courage with resourcefulness and self-mastery. This biography of her early years and suffrage leadership offers fresh insight into her private persona and public image, examining for the first time the sources of her ambition and the growth of her political consciousness. Using extensive oral history interviews with Paul and her colleagues, the authors revise our understanding about Paul's engagement with suffrage activism in England and later emergence onto the American scene. Though her Quaker upbringing has long been seen as the spark for her commitment to women's rights, the authors show how her childhood among the Friends forged crucial aspects of Paul's character, but her political zeal developed out of years of education and exploration. The authors explore the ways in which her involvement with the British suffragists Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst honed her instincts and skills, especially her dealings with her most important political adversaries, Woodrow Wilson and rival suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt. Applying new research to the persistent questions about Alice Paul and her legacy, this biography analyzes her charisma and leadership qualities, sheds new light on her life and work and is essential reading for anyone interested the woman suffrage movement.