It’s beyond exciting that Harper Lee has another (her second!) novel released and going back to Maycomb would be a dream. But having read reviews and articles, I’m scared that by reading it, I could change forever the way I see one of my favourite books.
Go Set a Watchman features pretty much the same characters and intrinsic plot as To Kill a Mockingbird. The difference is, in this book – Scout is 26 and referred to as Jean Louise. It was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee took it to her editor and was persuaded to do another draft that featured Scout as a child, with the story told through her eyes and more emphasis put on the relationship with her father Atticus. This was To Kill a Mockingbird – the book we all love.
Of course anticipation for Go Set a Watchman was huge. Amazon recorded it as their second most pre-ordered book of all time – beaten only by Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (absolutely justified). But I’m just not sure. I’m mainly nervous because I’ve read that one of the finest literary creations of all time (if not THE finest) Atticus Finch, is not as… kind as he was in To Kill a Mockingbird.
I get very attached to characters anyway and Atticus is such a perfect, brilliant creation. His kindness more than anything but also his intelligence, integrity and rational thinking. It helps that he was portrayed so fantastically by Gregory Peck in the 1962 adaptation but even without this movie, I’d still love Atticus. It’s hard to believe he’s not a real person.
I’ve read reviews of Go Set a Watchman that hint Atticus could be more of a bigoted character. I’ve read reviews saying things such as “everything we thought we knew about Mockingbird is up in the air” or “those who have read To Kill a Mockingbird will be shocked and even horrified by some of this book”.
I know without reading the book it’s hard to pass judgement but I REALLY love To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a book that cheers me up whenever I’m feeling down. For goodness sake I didn’t even watch the Harry Potter movies until they were television ready – I was concerned my visions of Ron and Dumbledore could be tarnished forever.
(I told you I get attached to characters)
I would be very interested to hear other thoughts on Go Set a Watchman, particularly if any of you have read it already!
One thing I would really like to know is if Dill is in it, as an adult? Dill was the kid in To Kill a Mockingbird who stayed with his aunt in Maycomb and hung out with Jem and Scout. He was based on my favourite author – Truman Capote (when he was little of course). Truman was a lifelong friend of Harper Lee, growing up together as children and she was one of his only companions who was not a member of ‘high society’. Because I love Truman’s books I’ve always particularly loved little Dill, with his sad upbringing and sensational stories.
“Mr and Mrs Lee, Harper Lee’s mother and father, lived very near. Harper Lee was my best friend. Did you ever read her book, To Kill a Mockingbird? I’m a character in that book, which takes place in the same small town in Alabama where we lived. Her father was a lawyer and she and I used to go to trials all the time as children. We went to the trials instead of going to the movies.” – Truman Capote