Truman Capote and Harper Lee: Best Friends

Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee grew up next door to each other in Monroeville, Alabama with only a stone wall separating their yards. At the time, Truman’s last name was Persons, and his parents had left him at his aunts’ home while they partied and moved around. Later, his mother remarried a Cuban businessman with the surname, Capote.

Truman was a lonely little boy. He and Nelle were the only kids of their type in town: very bright and tremendous readers. As a result they became fast friends. Also, as a neighbor said, “Truman was too soft for the boys, and Nelle was too tough for the girls.”

In Nelle’s tree house they wrote stories together, mainly about the people they spied on. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Nelle based the character of Dill on Truman. (Remember, Dill said his parents didn’t want him.) Truman based the character of Isobel on Nelle in his novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.

When Truman went to Kansas to investigate the murders of a farm family for what became one of the best pieces of crime nonfiction of the 20th century, In Cold Blood, he asked Nelle to accompany him. Like they children they had been, they went on a big adventure together that involved snooping and writing.

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