A few months ago, it was announced that Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird would release her second book, Go Set a Watchman, later this year. This came as a shock to the literary world as Mockingbird was published 55 years ago.
I, like most people, have very mixed feelings about this. To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic. It remains to this very day one of my favorite books. So part of me would love to see more work by Lee. It would be great to learn what happened to Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch in the years after the events of the first book.
…But would it? The other side of me is vehemently against the idea of a Mockingbird sequel. To Kill a Mockingbird is perfect as it is. If Watchman doesn’t live up to its expectations, will it sully the high regard we hold for its predecessor? I think if Lee had released a different book, unrelated to the events and characters of Mockingbird, I would not be so skeptical. But as it is, I am worried that Watchman may be a disappointment. Moreover, Lee actually wrote Go Set a Watchman before To Kill a Mockingbird. When her editor read a flashback sequence in which Scout Finch was a young girl, he suggested that Lee write a novel about Scout’s childhood. This makes me nervous. Watchman is an amateur’s first attempt at a novel, one that was pushed aside for a different idea by the book’s editor.
On the other hand (well, back to the first hand, I guess), Harper Lee has proven to be a magnificent writer and Watchman is said to deal with many similar themes to Mockingbird. I’m sure all of this is just the public being overprotective of a book we all adore. I guess, in the end, I’m cautiously optimistic about the release of Go Set a Watchman. One thing’s for sure, the internet will certainly be ablaze with discussion once the novel comes out this July.
And now, just because I like it, here’s a song called “Harper Lee” by Little Green Cars: