Everyone involved in the book business in any way has been awaiting GO SET A WATCHMAN, by Harper Lee. I have been anticipating it. Wondering if it is authentic. Wondering if it is any good. Hard to even utter those words. But I am only saying what everyone is thinking.
This highly expected novel has been under a tough embargo. It arrived in our store only to be hurried into the manager’s office and locked away in all its glory. No one, but no one, was supposed to read it before pub date,July 14.
But, more than one somebody got a hold of a copy. It’s been reviewed in all the top papers in this country and abroad, and not to raving reviews. Far from it for the most part. There have not been harsh words said against it. But nothing splendid is coming out of this. I am hearing plenty of chatter about race. And I don’t like what I’m hearing.
How do I feel about this book? I have had reservations from the get-go. There’s just something wrong when a manuscript of this proportion suddenly erupts from out of nowhere. It makes me wonder why it took so long to “show up.” It makes me wonder if greed was a big part of the discovery being brought to the surface. But, most of all, I am now quite concerned that the contents of this book will ruin the classic appeal of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. And, I’m also very concerned about the state of civil rights in this country, right this very moment. Some people are going to be offended. Some are going to be outright disappointed. A few might be just glad to have another book by Harper Lee.
I have decided not to read GO SET A WATCHMAN. The last thing I want to do is read anything about anyone with racist tendencies. I certainly do not want to read of a protagonist who was a hero being brought down. Not Finch. It’s just not right for me.
I think enough reviews will be done. I have so many other books to read. And so I will be passing on this one. Boom!