Stop Picking On Harper Lee, Mockingbird This is not a 'simple book' By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jun 24, 2010 4:32 PM CDT 11 comments Comments Watching the filming of a scene for the 1962 movie 'To Kill a Mockingbird' are producer Alan Pakula and author Harper Lee. (AP Photo) (Newser) – To Kill a Mockingbird is 50 years old now, and it's fashionable these days for snooty critics to bash the novel as as simplistic and author Harper Lee as overrated, complains Jenna Sauers of Jezebel. (Here's an example from today's Wall Street Journal.) Lay off. This is not a "simple book," she writes, citing as one example the contradictions within the moral code of Atticus Finch. "To Kill A Mockingbird is not the most morally complex of works, it is true. But then again, it is a novel written for children, and when it was composed, in the late 1950s, and published, in July, 1960, the proposition that black people ought to be treated as equal citizens was still a radical one in America."