The much anticipated novel Go Set a Watchman written by Harper Lee is set to be released on July 14th . That is only days away. To refresh your memory, Ms Harper is the brilliant author of To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t know about the other forty nine states in the US but in New York this was on the required reading list in schools and I am so glad it was or else I might have missed it. I was one of those geeky readers who loved books written by Hemingway and Fitzgerald etc. In lower grades I whizzed through Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt about the Civil War, while others moaned and groaned about it.
Anyway I read To Kill a Mockingbird in either middle school or high school can’t remember which, then reread it after high school and then read it when my daughter was reading it as part of her required reading.
This book published in the early 1960’s was written about a very controversial topic. The story was told through the eyes of a motherless little white girl from a small town in Alabama who worshiped her country lawyer father. The timing of the novel 1930’s. Her father takes on the case of a black man who is falsely accused of rape. Having a white man take the case of a black man at that time was earth shattering and caused a major uproar in that small southern town . Lee did an amazing job capturing the mood and cadence of the trial. I almost felt like I was in the court room.
When this book was published, no one had heard about Harper Lee and many thought she was a he since she dropped her first name Nelle and Harper could be considered gender neutral. The book certainly held its own considering she was a first time novelist who was “competing” with authors such as James Michener, Leon Uris and Irving Stone just to name a few. And by the way if you haven’t read these authors may I suggest you try one of their novels.
So after 55 years we will have the opportunity to read Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee’s second novel to be published. I can’t wait. The Wall Street Journal has published the first chapter. Here is the Link. I know I will be reading this book!!