I guess we all knew I’d be getting around to this topic sooner or later.
My word on the subject is that I will not be reading the book, and it has nothing to do with any revelations about the characters that may have leaked. My position since the announcement of the finding of the sequel has not changed: I feel quite uncomfortable about the wheedling of a woman not completely in control of her faculties at her advanced age and the pressure for her to publish the novel.
Frankly, it’s thisclose to elder abuse, and I feel that my reading it would be tacitly approving of the strong-arming of a not 100% Harper Lee (no matter what her editors or handlers say), and that’s what I can’t sanction.
I’m dying to learn about the plot, to see what Scout’s adult life is like, and to be updated on Macomb so many years later.
But this whole situation just doesn’t sit right with me, and that’s where I stand.
There are other beefs with it, too, like Atticus’ racist views. Honestly, I don’t care. But let’s remember one thing, people:
ATTICUS FINCH IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.
(“It would have been within her literary license to have made him a member of the KKK, if she wanted,” Mama Bear wrote me.)
And he’s also not Gregory Peck. Gregory Peck is an actor who played a character that people hold dear to them – he is not the character. Let’s keep that distinction separate, too.
Mama Bear is level-headed and thoughtful, and not normally a conspiracy theorist, but she did come up with a theory that made some freaky good sense. Go Set a Watchman probably is the only one of the two that Lee actually wrote. What if she put together a strong outline (bare bones) for someone else (Truman Capote?) to flesh out into the magnificent To Kill a Mockingbird?
(I know, right?)
No matter what, though, Mama Bear, as always, says it best. In her own words: “By opening this can of worms, it becomes a very sad end to a legacy that should have remained unsullied and unquestioned.”
No matter what, though, I’m excited to hear what my friends think about it.
Go Set a Watchman-related links (and, of course, more may pop up in the future):
This one gets the top spot, because it’s the best one I’ve read about the whole brouhaha.
How Lee’s father was her inspiration for Atticus.
From Friend D:
By the numbers from NBC.
White power in Watchman and Mockingbird.
“The Onion”‘s take.
From Mama Bear:
There are some word-for-word overlaps between Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird. Odd.
Even Oprah couldn’t get a meeting with Harper Lee.
From Sister A: