Why I Won’t Read Harper Lee’s ‘New’ Book

To Kill a MockingbirdIn anticipation of Harper Lee’s ‘new’ book, Go Set a Watchman (to be released this week), I read her original Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird (published in 1960) earlier this month.  It gets better with every reading.  Last night, we watched the 1962 Academy Award-winning film starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.  Like the book, I enjoy the film more and more each time I view it.  I can say the same for It’s a Wonderful Life, which we watch every year.

It has been 65 years since Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.  According to most accounts, Go Set a mockingbirdWatchman was her original manuscript that her editors guided through a significant re-write.  To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s during the Great Depression.  Go Set a Watchman is set in Maycomb in the 1950’s.  Scout, Jean Louise Finch and her attorney father Atticus are the main characters in both novels.

At 89-years old, I seriously doubt that Ms. Lee was the moving force behind the publication of the ‘new’ book, which was originally written in 1957.

This morning, I woke up still feeling good about the film I watched last night.  Then I began wondering about Ms. Lee’s motivation to publish a ‘new’ book.  The more I thought about that, the more I wondered about her publishers ….

I decided to read a review.  I will not put any ‘spoilers’ in this post, but I will link to Friday’s New York Times review.

Personally, I want to remember Atticus Finch and his children the way they were in To Kill a Mockingbird.  I know Go Set a Watchman will sell like wildfire.  I have read it is already the most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter.

I do wonder how it will be received.  Will I change my mind and read it?  Don’t know, but right now, I take comfort that there were and still are people on this earth like Atticus Finch.


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