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Harper Lee’s 'Go Set a Watchman' Experiencing Printing Problems; Is 'To Kill A Mockingbird' Sequel Even Necessary?

( [email protected] ) Jul 17, 2015 05:07 PM EDT
Recent reports that Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's long-awaited and overlooked follow-up to the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has been experiencing some printing problems.  A book like this is not one that should be getting news like this, which has led many to wonder if Go Set a Watchman is necessary.
Sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird, 50 years later. HarperCollins

Recent reports that Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's long-awaited and overlooked follow-up to the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has been experiencing some printing problems.  A book like this is not one that should be getting news like this, which has led many to wonder if Go Set a Watchman is necessary. 

The Irish Times has stated that a certain print of the long-awaited offering from Pulitzer Prize winning author Harper Lee has created a bad printed version with blank lines with sentences unfinished and even whole paragraphs being omitted. 

There are reports saying that the flagship Easons store on O'Connell Street has no copies of the book in stock, and any purchasers experiencing problems with the book are entitled to a full refund or replacement.  It is expected that the correct version of the book will be fully-stocked by Saturday, as the problem appears to be confined to a small number of suppliers with other bookstores reporting no issues with their consignments. 

Amazon has also reported that affected customers can have free replacements, but a lot of readers are showing a lot of dissatisfaction with the printing of the follow-up to Harper Lee's best-selling novel To Kill a Mockingbird

All right, that is the news, so it is time to address why there should be a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Many people have it listed as their favorite book, as the story of Atticus Finch defending a black man against rape charges of a white woman in America's deep south was not only a literary inspiration, but it help change things as well.  It came out at a time when Martin Luther King Jr. was beginning his protests, and it was showing the world that racism was a terrifying injustice that we just couldn't live with anymore.

Go Set a Watchman seems to come very late by fifty years, but this is not a case of an author attempting to put out a book to make some big fast cash.  Apparently, Go Set a Watchman was supposed to be published back in the early sixties, but it was the suggestion of the publisher that the book focus on one singular case of Atticus Finch told from the point of view of Scout, a young girl. 

In fact, the manuscript was found in a safety deposit box by Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter, and it was thought to be an old version of To Kill a Mockingbird.  It was announced this year that HarperCollins would publish it, and it looks like the story has a grown up Scout (Jen Louise) and how she is trying to understand her father's attitude toward society as well as her personal and political issues. 

Harper Lee insisted that the manuscript not be edited, and a separate article from the Irish Times says that it is more of a deconstruction of Atticus Finch, who was the moral compass of the first book, standing up against the illogic of racism.   

In the end, I'm going to have to rate Go Set a Watchman as "worth a try", as I have not read it myself, but intend to.  I don't think that it will bring back the magic that was To Kill a Mockingbird, but this is to be expected.  Sequels can rarely bring back the greatness of the original, but a new story can put a new fresh spin on what was before.  The new story is that To Kill A Mockingbird was told from the point-of-view of a little girl, but Go Set a Watchman will be from an adult, and how those experiences as a child has affected her.