Monday, July 13, 2015

Go Set A...What?



By now everyone's likely read the first chapter of Harper Lee's long awaited sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird. I saw it circulating around the internet on Friday and clicked the link before you could say Boo Radley. This post is not a book review of Go Set a Watchman that releases this Friday, July 17th, but rather the way my thoughts formed as I read the excerpt.

Our unconventional young Scout has become our unconventional young woman Scout, excuse me, I mean Jean Louis. Just as we suspected, right? We are in her head as she travels home for her annual visit to Maycomb. Yay! We're going home to Maycomb!

Aw, sure. Poor Atticus can't meet her at the station. He's really getting along in years and that's totally understandable. Atticus. Don't you just love saying his name? I wanted to name a son Atticus, but since we had five daughters that didn't work out. We do have a son quite sensibly named Nathan, by the way, but is every bit as wonderful as Atticus Finch. Just sayin'.


Anyway, Jean Louis' boyfriend, Henry Clinton, picks her up at the station. The writer in me is thinking, "Now what was the name of that little boy that Scout fought in school, and then he came home to dinner and poured syrup all over everything? Wouldn't that be cool if he grew up to be her boyfriend?" Oh, wait. That was Walter Cunningham. Duh.

So here's the thing. I don't know if it could be called a spoiler in the very first chapter, but if you haven't already heard and don't want to know, click out of here right now. I'll wait.

 OK. So we get a passing comment about Jem having "dropped dead in his tracks"? Noooooo! What? Is this a blatant disregard for readership? I mean four generations of fans who love the Finch family are to be cheated out of Jem's life? Or is it a device to keep us reading? Because Jean Louis' inner dialogue doesn't seem to be that affected by it. Please, please, please, let this be a book about what happened to Jem. Pretty smart, I guess. Because no matter what it's about, I'm going to be reading to the very last period to find out what did happen.

Sequels are hard. I know from experience. How do you follow To Kill A Mockingbird, anyway? However it turns out, I will always have my worn out copy sitting to the right of my computer. It was the way that book (and movie) made me feel that factored in my desire to write.

This is free on Amazon: Countdown to Go Set A Watchman, which includes the excerpt, and other goodies to help get you excited about the release. I really enjoyed this: The Mockingbird Next Door, which I reviewed here.

So are you looking forward to Go Set A Watchman? Do you know anyone named Atticus or Scout?
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9 comments:

  1. I LOVED To Kill a Mockingbird but don't think I'll read Go Set a Watchman. I'm not entirely convinced that Harper Lee gives her full support for this one, and I have a feeling they took an old manuscript that was never meant for publication and are trying to make a buck from it. It's heartbreaking to see that her writing will be further judged by it when it was so brilliant and insightful in TKAM. But maybe I'm wrong, and it will be a great bestseller. ha! What do I know?

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    1. Cherie, I agree this might not be authentic. After the release of The Mockingbird Next Door, Harper Lee released a statement that she never authorized the autobiography about Lee and her sister Alice. Alice recounted that Harper would never have done that, because she can't see and she can't hear. So heartbreaking.

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  2. Thanks for showcasing the story. Sophomore syndrome is often an issue; not sure what to think, either. Early reviews are harsh, though since it was not given out for review, what can anyone say? But you made a good case here to check it out. Unfortunately, not giving it early release reviews calls out the trolls first.

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    1. This isn't Sophomore syndrome, tho as GSAW was written before TKAM. They wanted more detail on Scout's early story, which is how TKAM finally came to be. I really believe now that Nell's sister (and protector) has passed there is someone trying to take advantage of this manuscript and HL may not even be fully aware of it. Sad.

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    2. Didn't know GSAW came first. Lots to discover about this.

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  3. I wish she'd written an entirely new book. This is like that feeble attempt at a sequel to Gone with the Wind. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and almost dread hearing about the new one.

    On a different note: Yeah, sequels are hard to write. Especially when there's--what? fifty years?--between the first and the second!

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    1. I remember reading a sequel to Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca that released 55 years after the original. Totally disappointed me. Don't remember who wrote it. Just googled that and discover there is another one, released in 2001 (77 years later) that is officially approved by the Du Maurier estate. It's called Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman. Interesting.

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  4. Jem dead! That was hard to take. Thanks for your thoughts. I read the excerpt pretty quickly too. Knowing it was her original book makes it all the sweeter. :-)

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    1. I know. Kind of a shock. Thanks for stopping by:)

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