Book by HARPER LEE
Isn’t it wonderful that so many people are upset about Go Set A Watchman? I am not being sarcastic. Think about it: one of the most talked about events in the summer of 2015 is the publication of a book. Harper Lee’s old friend, Truman Capote (the model for Dill in To Kill A Mockingbird), would probably have had something snarky to say about it. The author herself remains silent, as she largely has since her first book—the only one until now—was published in 1960.
Go Set A Watchman is not a great book. We see Harper Lee, who was in her early 30s when she wrote it, before she fully found her voice and getting in her own way more times than not as she struggled to write her first novel. I agree with her original editor at Lippincott (now HarperCollins) who judged that this one wasn’t ready, but saw enough potential in Lee’s writing to think that it could form the scaffolding for a stronger book. But in some ways Go Set a Watchman is the more ambitious novel. Lee reached far in this first attempt to come to terms with her childhood in racist, segregated Alabama of the 1950s.