screenshot3 If you know me, or have followed the blog from the beginning, you know that Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book ever. So when news of the discovery of the Go Set A Watchman manuscript broke, it simultaneously excited and terrified me.

Of course, I promptly pre-ordered a copy when the publication was announced. I stayed away from any reviews, not wanting anything to color my own reading of it. I read it with no small degree of trepidation. I didn’t want it to take away from To Kill A Mockingbird, but the risk of it doing just that was great.

I’ve still not read any other reviews of the book, but I have talked about it with some friends who have also read it, and who read reviews, and I understand they are decidedly mixed. I’m weighing in on the side of those who liked the book.

I made myself separate Watchman  from TKAM and read it as a separate work, much like reading JK Rowling’s  The Casual Vacancy and reminding myself it was in no way Harry Potter.  The first thing I realized is that Lee’s writing style, her languid southern language, was very much a part of the book, and I was so grateful for that.  It’s Lee’s voice that most appealed to me in TKAM and what I enjoy in each re-read of the book.

The second thing I realized is that I had the wrong view of Atticus in TKAM.  It wasn’t that Atticus was ahead of his time with race relations in the rural south, but that he had a sense of justice, and solidly defended Tom Robinson because it was the right thing to do. He was in no way doing it to make a statement against a biased justice system.

Scout as an adult is different than I expected, and I had an unexpected better understanding of Aunt Alexandra.  Without spoiling,  I felt Scout’s disillusionment at the climax of the story was a bit overwrought and overdone.  Overall, though,  I enjoyed the story and am glad I read it.

I’ve not yet re-read TKAM since finishing Watchman,  and I do wonder how or if it will be different for me, having read Watchman. 

The last thing I will say is that I hope that Ms. Lee has been treated fairly in this whole process. She’s given us a wonderful legacy with her books, and I would hate to think anyone has taken advantage of that.