Harper Lee Speaks Out On Book Sequel Controversy

by Caitlin White

Swiftly after the excitement about Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird sequel Go Set a Watchman , avid readers (myself included) worried about Lee's state of mind when deciding to publish her second novel. After all, in the past, Lee had been vehemently against releasing another book and was notorious for shying away from any kind of media attention. However, Thursday, Lee herself spoke out about the controversy, releasing a statement through her lawyer saying she was completely supportive of her To Kill a Mockingbird sequel. And with that, we should all be able to be super excited again.

"I'm alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to Watchman," Lee said in her statement. (And yeah, the reactions have been totally awesome and hilarious.)

Friends who claim to have seen "Nelle," Lee's given name, and what those close to her call her, back her support of the sequel. While she did have a stroke in 2007, and yes she's partially deaf and blind and is wheelchair-bound, many friends say she's just as "feisty" as ever. Wayne Flynt, a writer and Lee's friend for more than a decade, said when he went to visit her just this Monday, she was quoting lines from Shakespeare's Macbeth to him.

"I don't think that anybody who says she's demented has been to see her in the last 10 years," Flynt said. And that's definitely a possibility, because Lee's lawyer and longtime friend of the family, Tonja Carter, allegedly restricted visitation to the author at her assisted-living facility in her home of Monroeville, Alabama.

Andrew Nurnberg, Lee's international literary agent received the statement from Carter and was the one that released it. He, too, agrees with Flynt that Lee is physically frail, yes, but completely lucid. And he admitted that Lee was "hesitant" to release the book (as many of us well know from several of the author's earlier remarks), her close friends and family persuaded her to publish because Go Set a Watchman could live up to the expectations of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the greatest American classic novels.

And holy moly should that make us even more excited to read it. Hopefully now, we can all rest assured that not only is Lee fully aware and on board with releasing her next book, she's just as much of a firecracker as she's always been.

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