Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is one of those novels I’ll probably be reading and re-reading my whole life. Me, and a million other fans. I love those characters – Dill, Jem, Boo Radley, Scout, and her father, Atticus Finch, Calpurnia. How everyone wished Lee would write another novel but she never did. It seemed we’d have to content ourselves with re-reading “Mockingbird” every few years.
Then not long ago, a manuscript of Lee’s was unearthed – a sequel to her first novel – and the whole country went wild. The Los Angeles Times called it, “the biggest literary surprise of the 21st century: On July 13, 55 years after the publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird," the reclusive 89-year-old Harper Lee will publish her second book.” Advanced sales of the book – Go Set a Watchman -- pushed it to the top of bestseller lists, months before the novel got published.
Go set a watchman takes place in Maycomb, Alabama, Here’s how Amazon describes it: “Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—“Scout”—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her.” Sounds good. I was about to buy it on Amazon when the literary news came rolling in. The long-awaited novel not only made for mediocre reading, but it also portrayed the formerly noble-hearted Atticus Finch as a bigot. You can’t imagine the blow. Seemed the whole country fell into a depression, me, too. I couldn’t bear to read the book. I did not want my hero Atticus Finch to be messed with or tarnished. Nor did I want to see my literary hero, Harper Lee, to fall flat on her face. Finally, after a year, I got awfully curious. Really, how bad could it be? At the very least, I’d get to meet Dill, Jem and Boo again. (more…)