Chasing the Mockingbird is the story of my collapse into mental illness while doing research for a book about Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. If you're interested in how a writer works, or new information about Harper Lee, or a personal struggle with mental illness, you might enjoy my book.
I had a life-long fascination with Harper Lee and Mockingbird because I grew up 40 miles from her hometown of Monroeville in south Alabama. She knew my parents. Her fame convinced me to become a writer and I joyously reported for 10 years at The Birmingham News. I began on the copy desk, going to work at 4 a.m. Later, as education reporter I delved into stories with a passion that veered toward the edge of sanity.
After I left The News to become a stay-at-home mom, my interest in Ms. Lee became an obsession with tracing her path to fame. I take readers on a (literally) manic romp to New York where, in the archives of the public library, I read notes she had written, and to Monroeville, where I got locked in the famed courthouse. I spent weeks of frantic calls and faxes to set up a phone call with Gregory Peck, who rarely granted interviews, about his most-loved part.
When this project had brought me to a point of near exhaustion, my schizophrenic brother, in a mental institution’s halfway house, was diagnosed with lung cancer at 48. I desperately tried to find a place for him to die in peace. I succeeded, but at a terrible price. As he gasped his last breath it was as though he had put his hand on my arm and said, “It’s your turn to be crazy now.” Madness quietly took me into his world of delusions and paranoia.
I plunged into depression then soared into mania. I landed on a locked ward, facing my own commitment hearing. Antipsychotic drugs pulled me back to reality – twice. And what if side effects of high cholesterol and diabetes develop? My psychiatrist said, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
- Binding: Kindle Edition
- Product Group: eBooks
- Product Type Name: ABIS_EBOOKS
- Release Date: 2016-06-23
- Publication Date: 2016-06-23
- Number Of Pages: 190