"I Am Scout" Book Analysis and Recommendation

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In the non-fiction biography “I Am Scout” (Published in 2008 by Henry Holt) Charles Shield tells in 212 pages (without bibliography) about celebrated author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee. The book describes Lee’s life and the mark she has left on American literature. “I Am Scout” gives the reader a detailed analysis of Harper Lee’s life and her tomboy personality.

The book opens by showing the reader a young “Nelle” Harper Lee who heroically comes to the rescue of her puny friend Truman Capote who had a knack for finding trouble. Nelle “peels” the boys off Truman, who is lying on his back with tears streaming down his red, blotchy face. While the chapter goes on to speak of Nelle’s southern upbringing and her family’s past in Alabama, the reader is subtly reminded of a scene in Harper Lee’s novel where an enraged Scout attacks an older boy who had called Scout’s father a “n***er lover”. The two scenes are oddly alike. They both depict a scene during the period of the great depression in which a spunky, tough seven-year-old girl beets up a boy twice her size when they mess with someone that she cares about. The fictional character, Scout, and her creator Nelle Harper Lee are both less than what a typical mother of that time would want their baby daughter to be. Nelle and Scout are the stereotypical tomboy and would rather play roughhousing games with the boys than dolls or dress up. This may be because they were both, to a certain extent, motherless. Scout’s mother had died when she was just two years old and Nelle’s mother, Frances Lee, was of questionable mental health. She suffered what today would have been diagnosed as manic-depressive disorder or a severe bipolar disorder and was known to have sudden outbursts of emotion. According to Nelle’s best childhood friend, Truman Capote, Frances Lee attempted to drown Nelle when she was two years old, the same age at which Scout’s mother dies in “Mockingbird”. However, Truman Capote was known to stretch...
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