Back when Harper Lee announced her new book, Go Set a Watchman, this blog talked about the controversies around the release of the book and the common fears (and failures) that came with sequels released so long from the original work.
What we mainly focused on was how this shouldn’t be the case for Go Set a Watchman because, according to Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman was actually the original book she tried to get published, only to have her publisher say something like “Hey, I dig these characters, and I’d like to hear about the girl’s life growing up.” This statement is what drove Harper Lee to write the prequel to Go Set a Watchman, To Kill a Mockingbird.
The book has been out for a total of six days, and the controversy around the timing of the release has not died down yet, but another controversy has popped up.
It seems that everyone’s favorite lawyer and father, Atticus Finch, comes off as a racist.
For some, this is a big surprise.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 11, 2015
Harper Lee is showing readers a new side to Atticus Finch. And they are not happy http://t.co/GiUb1Q4UPO
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 11, 2015
For others, this revelation actually wasn’t all that surprising.
Atticus Finch was always a racist: why Go Set a Watchman is no surprise http://t.co/Lnz0aIqIfe
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) July 20, 2015
And, honestly, all of these controversies don’t seem to be hurting book sales.
Go Set a Watchman's UK sales top 100,000 in one day http://t.co/syqddxz0pV
— Guardian Books (@GuardianBooks) July 15, 2015
But, here’s the question: Is the book worth the read? As in, is it any good?
— Josephine Elia (@JosephineElia) July 17, 2015
— furrawn (@_furrawn_) July 16, 2015
Overall, if the controversies surrounding this book have you confused, you can always check out the first chapter thanks to The Guardian and see if the book is for you. If you’re okay with facing racism, if you’re not put off by characters growing and changing in ways you didn’t quiet expect, if you’re just curious to see who Scout grew up to be, then Go Set a Watchman is the summer read for you.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.