In 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 Watchman 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.