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It must be 15 years, at least, since we last read To Kill a Mockingbird. But it's a mere few weeks since we read Thomas Mallon's New Yorker review of the new Harper Lee biography, and from that review we learned that the admiring world had been wrong for all these years. Lee is, the review told us, in fact an atrocious writer. So when we learned this morning that Lee had published in her first piece of writing in several millennia, we were eager to get our hands on it. We wanted to see if, without the distraction of Gregory Peck's strong-chinned virtue, we'd finally see Lee's writing for the drivel it is. We went to the corner newsstand and we sucked it up and for the first time ever, we bought O, The Oprah Magazine. And we discovered that Lee's piece (click on it above to enlarge), while as tritely uplifting as an open letter to Winfrey would have to be, is also a perfectly fine, reasonably well-turned essay. We found this a tremendous relief.

July 2006 [O]
Earlier: But Will Harper Lee Help Oprah Hunt Down Child Predators?