After the press jumped on reports that Harper Lee might not be mentally sound enough to have signed off on the publication of her forthcoming second novel, Go Set a Watchman, the state of Alabama has made the call. Over the weekend the New York Times, and other outlets, released the state's finding that Lee was not manipulated into signing a contract to publish the book.
As the Times noted, state officials began the investigation after an anonymous complaint was filed claiming that Lee, who resides in an assisted living facility in the town of Monroeville, was coerced into the publishing deal for Watchman, which Harper acquired in February.
Despite the anticipation for Watchman, which is being released in July, a number of media outlets--as well as friends of Lee--have questioned the sudden emergence of this second novel. Lee, who is 88 and very hard of hearing and nearly blind, has reportedly said she's excited to see the book finally reach readers. Nonetheless, skepticism about the book's release ran high in various places.
In a recent Atlantic article called "Harper Lee: The Sadness of a Sequel," Megan Garber wrote "Harper Lee, née and known to those close to her as Nelle, spent the majority of her life not wanting Go Set a Watchman to be published. Or, at least, she has spent the majority of her life telling the media that she didn't want Go Set a Watchman to be published." But as Reuters reported, quoting the head of the commission investigating Lee's condition, the author "wanted [the book] to be published. She made it quite clear she did."