Years ago, I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I loved the book. Harper Lee's GO SET A WATCHMAN, set 20 years after MOCKINGBIRD took place, is released today. It is said that WATCHMAN was written before MOCKINGBIRD. On top of that, rumors of a third book have been circulating.
From skimming early reviews, I've learned that MOCKINGBIRD'S beloved attorney Atticus Finch, who nobly sought acquittal for an African-American man falsely accused of rape, re-emerges in WATCHMAN now as a man who attends a KKK meeting and makes bigoted remarks about African-Americans.
For this reason, people have not been shy to express on social media their apprehensions about reading the book. It's understandable that some Atticus fans want to preserve the godlike image they have of him. But I myself can often read about flawed characters, as long as they're well-written. What I am often curious about when I encounter such a character is why they are the way they are, even if I don't agree with who they are. I want to know how Atticus became Bizarro Atticus…Or has he always been this way? *Shudder*
What I find troubling are comments out there unfairly scoffing at Harper's "first draft," possibly her first book writing effort. Anyone who has ever tried to be a master at anything should be inspired to learn that the author of one of our great American novels didn't achieve this on her first try. She, like most of us, applied the "wash, rinse, and repeat" approach to her work. MOCKINGBIRD came from that.
I plan to read GO SET A WATCHMAN.
I don't know if I'll read the book as if it's a standalone or a sequel. I also don't know if I'd read the book with consideration to the rumor about a third novel. So I don't know if Atticus may be redeemed...in a future book. What I do know is that uncertainties such as these stoke interest.
Do you plan to read GO SET A WATCHMAN? If you know that a character you idolized in one book becomes a totally different person in another book, would you still read the book?