Harper Lee’s death should be properly mourned

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and remember, people stay around as long as there is something in it for them. Those may sound like clichés but sadly for one author, they became her reality.

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and now recently Harper Lee have all been exploited by the greed of people closely associated with them. It angers and saddens me that people hide behind love and will sell out someone so quickly just to make a dollar.

The literary community has recently mourned the loss of author Nelle Harper Lee, on Feb. 19, 2016. Her legacy to the literary world, the world I center my college major around, was her novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
However, “Go Set a Watchman” is a supposed sequel, and was published in a cloud of controversy. Literary agents for Lee, Annie Laurie Williams and Maurice Cain, have revealed records stating that what was published as “Go Set a Watchman” last year was indeed an early draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Lee’s caregiver and agent, her eldest sister Alice Lee, passed away in November of 2014. That left Lee, with her short term memory loss, unprotected and vulnerable to her lawyer, who was next in line to look after her affairs. He expressly went against her wishes and released her book, “Go Set a Watchman,” to HarperCollins who jumped at the chance to publish it. Never mind the fact that Harper never wanted it published to begin with.
Sound familiar? When Michael Jackson died in 2009, his estate was disputed even though it was obvious that it belonged to his children. The argument then turned to the individual who would become their guardian until they came of age. Everyone wanted to be in charge of millions of dollars.

The greed of those around her came from people who wanted to make one last dollar before her death; but they have done very little to tarnish the iconic writer. News headlines that reported her death have only mentioned “To Kill a Mockingbird” as her legacy. Lee once said, “It’s better to be silent than to be a fool.” In this case, her silence has preserved her integrity and the fools are plain to see. Lee has a legacy that will live on in American literature for a long time and her loyal fans have taken great measures to ensure that it isn’t tarnished by the release of her novel, “Go Set a Watchman.”

Brilliant Books in Michigan offered full refunds to customers to preserve Lee’s integrity after the book was published. I applaud them. No one deserves to be taken advantage of because they are deemed not capable of making a decision regarding their affairs. No one deserves to be taken advantage of by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.