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Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, anyone?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:15 am
by Wingardium Verbiosa
Have you read it? Do you want to read it?

Are you a big fan of To Kill A Mockingbird, and how does this play into your response - whether deciding, in light of the controversies surrounding Watchman, whether to even read it, or your response to having read it?

Or anything else you wish to discuss about either or both books - jump in and discuss! :)

I've been a fan of Mockingbird since I read it for sophomore English class and I'm in my 50s now. I was so excited to hear of the impending publication of Watchman. I read about the controversies regarding Ms. Lee's competence to decide to allow the publication, and a day before the release of the book I read the early reviews of the surprise about Atticus, which I won't detail here because - spoilers if you haven't read it and don't like spoilers.

Preliminary overview of my response to Watchman: I can see how as others have said, it has qualities of a first draft, albeit by a writer of promise. And some of the things that contradict Mockingbird or take it in a different direction are jarring when you have the love for the original book as I do. Even minor details stand out to one who has read Mockingbird countless times.

Time does pass, though, and that's probably the source of much of the odd dissonance. The rougher, not fully realized writing set in a later time as the book that was expanded from that writing and set in an earlier time, gives sort of an "alternate universe" feeling. I think if Watchman had been edited for continuity and developed as a true sequel to Mockingbird, that would have been more of a satisfying publishing event. That's not to say I dislike Watchman, despite even the "alternate" Atticus, merely that it needs more to be a complete novel, IMO.

Re: Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, anyone?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:00 pm
by James A. Ritchie
I love Watchman. I think all the complaints about it are in areas where Lee got it right. It is in character for such a man to be a racist. It was just the times, and the way people were. Finding with everything you have in a case such as Mockingbird does not in any way mean you are not a racist, of that it won't be more open in later years. This is how it really was, and still is in may parts of the country. Racism comes in more flavors that Kool-Aid, and many of the most blatant racists don't consider themselves racist at all,

As for the writing, I love the roughness of it. To me, it matches the story of a much older man who has seen too much sordid life.

The only trouble I see with Watchman is that people are so deeply in love with Mockingbird that they can't bear to see anything or anyone changed for the worse, however realistic it might be.

Re: Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman, anyone?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:08 pm
by LMGilbert
It was so completely different from TKAM, like a brutal deconstruction of everything i held "sacred" about Harper Lee's first book. It was not what I was expecting, and I think it took a lot of guts for her to put that particular book out in the world today. That being said, my teeth were set on edge by the lengthy apologist exposition by the uncle. Guess I have to read Lee's first book once again to see if she used that kind of monologue device, but I don't remember being so burdened when I read it not too long before reading Watchman. The examination of racism and white southern culture through a child's eyes is very different than through the eyes of an educated big-city woman, I suppose.

The biggest let-down for me, not a single character as wonderful and original and interesting as Boo Radley.