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A Little Reminder That Harper Lee Was An Incredible Writer

SPOILERS BELOW!

If you ever doubted that Harper Lee could write, if you ever bit on the rumor that, perhaps, Truman Capote had secretly written To Kill A Mockingbird (explaining why Lee never wrote again), then Go Set A Watchman should erase those doubts.

As we’ve talked about before, Lee wrote Watchman years before Mockingbird. It was Lee’s editor who helped turn the Watchman novel into the classic that eventually became To Kill A Mockingbird. So, when you read Go Set A Watchman, you’re actually reading Mockingbird‘s first draft. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Lee’s editor, Tay Hohoff, saw something in Lee. She realized the type of writing Harper Lee was capable of, and she helped draw that out of her.

If you’re familiar with Watchman‘s story, then you know it’s rather controversial. Atticus Finch has become a racist old man. Scout, who has recently returned to Maycomb from New York City, is shocked to find Atticus and her boyfriend, Hank Clinton, at an organized “we hate black people” meeting at the courthouse.

Jean Louise (Scout) is stunned. 

It happened so quickly that her stomach was still heaving. She breathed deeply to quieten it, but it would not stay still. She felt herself turning green with nausea, and she put her head down; try as she might she could not think, she only knew, and what she knew was this:

The one human being she had ever fully and wholeheartedly trusted had failed her; the only man she had ever known to whom she could point and say with expert knowledge, “He is a gentleman, in his heart he is a gentleman,” had betrayed her, publicly, grossly, and shamelessly.

To me, that’s such a beautifully written, powerful passage.

I’m still not sure whether or not I believe this novel should have been published. But I’ll simply say that when I read passages like that, I’m reminded again of whose work I’m reading.

Harper Lee was, without a doubt, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century.

More to come on Go Set A Watchman on Thursday.

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18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  2. I think it’s a shame that it’s impossible to read Go Set a Watchman without comparing it to the vastly superior Top Kill a Mockingbird.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 28, 2015
  3. I read and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird as a teen and young adult and now as a senior. It is superior writing in every way. I just bought another copy of it within the past 3 months. I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman, but will get it, too. However, it will have to be superb to be as good a masterpiece as To Kill a Mockingbird,

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  4. I have go set a watchmen on my tbr. I must admit I’m a little nervous about reading it. However, after reading your review, I might bump it up the pile a bit.

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  5. animalsbooksfoodandeveythingelse #

    I cant wait to read! Reblooging on animalsbooksfoodandeverything 😛

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  6. animalsbooksfoodandeveythingelse #

    Reblogged this on animalsbooksfoodandeveythingelse and commented:
    I cant wait to read this! This mini review has wet my appetite! #excited

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  7. I loved this book. I thought it was moving, and meaningful, but I also come at it from a girl in her twenties perspective, so I just had very similar realizations to Jean Louise in this book. My Dad, HATED it, which I found really interesting. Looking forward to what you think on the whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 28, 2015
  8. Reblogged this on moazzamasadiq and commented:
    One cannot read it without comparing it with “To kill a Mockingbird”. This shouldn’t be happening.

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  9. This book was the initial draft turned in to the publisher, and the ms was rewritten to become TKAM. So it is difficult to speak intelligently about Watchman without comparing it to TKAM. I think there is much value in Watchman, but I do not think this is stellar writing, what with the cliche and all – tho the content/sentiment is valuable: “It happened so quickly that her stomach was still heaving. She breathed deeply to quieten it, but it would not stay still. She felt herself turning green with nausea…” I am deeply concerned about the ethics surrounding how the publisher went about getting this book out and how the publisher seems to regard (exploit) Harper Lee. Nonetheless, good will come of this. I may be like the father in someone else’s comments – I am older 🙂 and I was previously a book editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 28, 2015
    • I don’t know about how this book came to be published, and whether it was ethical -but leaving that aside, the timing is perfect in terms of how these books relate to each other, and the message in Watchman for people who grew up loving Atticus. I have found the whole experience of this book’s publication really exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 28, 2015
  10. I am so glad this book was published! And I don’t think it is inferior to Mockingbird at the moment – although time will tell of course how my feelings pan out in the long term. My review is here if you fancy a read: https://murderundergroundbrokethecamel.wordpress.com/

    Like

    July 28, 2015
  11. Reblogged this on Can't Stop Reading! 💕📖.

    Like

    July 29, 2015
  12. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, with Atticus Finch as one of my favorite characters. The movie version was fantastic, as well. Blessings. ❤

    Like

    July 29, 2015
  13. Reblogged this on Divorce Direction and commented:
    Sorry, absolutely nothing to do with divorce or children. But I love Harper Lee, and her “Go Set A Watchman” authenticates the amazing writer she is. Also, just reading during the divorce process is a great way to escape, briefly, all you might be facing.

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    July 30, 2015
  14. Reblogged this on STICK TO THE RULES.

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    August 1, 2015
  15. This í maybe a romantic story

    Like

    August 2, 2015

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