Thursday, July 16, 2015

I'm not going to read Go Set A Watchman

In the last couple months, all I could think about was the epic release of Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman. Since To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time, I was so excited for its 'sequel'. But after reading reviews from book bloggers and fancy newspapers, I've come to a conclusion: I don't think I'm actually going to read this book.

Now, I did buy the book. It has a gorgeous cover, and as far as yesterday was concerned, I was still going to read it. Then, I saw the reviews.

I'll be the first to admit I like flawed characters. Nobody is perfect in the real world, so why should they be perfect in the literary one? Atticus Finch was not perfect in Mockingbird, he had his problematic moments. But he was a good man who saw the world differently than a lot of his peers. He became the literary character that symbolized justice and equality. He was a hero to many. I also understand that when we see Atticus in Mockingbird, it's through the eyes of Scout as a child. There are going to be some biases in that point of view, of course. But after rereading Mockingbird, I can't help but see Atticus in the same light as I did before, only my love for him grew. Those quotes, you guys, those quotes. He's incredibly articulate and wise and just.

Watchman, however, shows us a different side of Atticus. It's a side that I don't particularly want to see. Not because I don't want to see my favorite character of all time ruined, but because it doesn't fit with who the actual character is. Based on the reviews I've seen, this is a different person. He's a "blatant racist", "white supremacist", and "disgustingly grotesque". Yeah, this isn't for me. I've also heard that the writing itself is kind of a mess, and so really, I don't see a point in destroying my favorite character for something that isn't even well written.

That's not to say that I won't some day read it. Maybe, I just need some time. But maybe not. I just know that reading this book will probably upset me and would like to avoid that as much as I can. Because I love Mockingbird so much, I think I'm going to have to pretend it's a standalone. I'm going to keep my Atticus the way he is.


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