To Read ‘Go Set a Watchman’ or Not to Read…

Harper Lee books

In a previous post I mentioned I was anticipating the delivery of my copy of Harper Lee’s novel ‘Go Set a Watchman’. Well, that suspense has been well rewarded. I was unable to put it down until I finished it.Excerpt chapter 17 In fact Chapter 17, which is very late in the book and mostly dialogue between Jean Louise (Scout) and Atticus, held me spellbound. I still love these two characters.

We know this story takes place twenty years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and my favourite characters are all there, except of course Jem, and there were only flashbacks to Dill. I wonder how Jem would have seen the changes that were taking place and whether he would have stood beside Atticus or Jean Louise?

Despite his flaws in this book, I still have a fondness for Atticus; I don’t think he is really that far removed from the one we love in the earlier work. Aunt Alexandra is stronger than ever, and their stories flow well from the previous book. Henry, Jean Louise’s boyfriend, I am not so fond of, which I think was the writer’s intention.

In this post I am not going to delve into the debate surrounding this novel. I believe that only a very few can know the true story behind the eventual publication of this book and I applaud those who choose not to read it out of principle; loyalty to a wonderful writer. How many writers can claim such devotion.

My willpower is not so great, after reading the first chapter online I was hooked. As was the intention. I know. The media story goes that ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was the original manuscript  Harper Lee submitted, she intended it to be read. Her publisher saw the story in a different light and persuaded her to rewrite it. If this is correct I am very glad she did. Because we can now enjoy both of these wonderful pieces of work.

This is a work of fiction as is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Harper Lee is not a work of fiction. She is very real, but well funded and connected media would have us believe in many and varied tales about her and her life.

I for one hope she is happy and aware that her books give so much pleasure to those who read them. And I thank her for two wonderful books.

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