STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
When Harper Lee published “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960, I don’t believe she had any idea the impact her novel would have, nor the amount of students who would one day be required to read it.
This is one story, however, that I never mind reading.
In fact, when it was required in eighth grade, I read it, and when it was required in ninth, I read it then too.
It wasn’t a tale that seemed to grow old to me.
It was so heart wrenching. The advice provided by Atticus and the questions formed by Scout seemed so second nature, and yet somehow impeccably, not life changing, but life moving, if that makes sense.
Here are some tidbits of advice from the book:
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” — Atticus Finch
“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” — Scout
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions … but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” — Atticus
These quotes all display quite clearly how honest Harper Lee’s writing is.
Her wisdom shines through in a simplistic setting and makes her novel worth a focused read with more than a few annotations.
Now, when I heard that Harper lee had written a sequel, I was incredibly interested.
To “see” Scout as an adult and learn about what sort of person she became could only be incredible.
However, Harper Lee never provided the go ahead to publish the story, and her last judgment call was a resounding no.
Now she is supposedly unable to make this judgment call and a massive push to publish the novel is occurring.
Although Lee’s attorney has proclaimed her incredibly happy to publish this novel, no statements have come directly from Harper Lee.
The book, “Go Set a Watchman” is already the number one seller on Amazon and is due to release in July.
So, my opinion on the matter doesn’t particularly matter. The subject has been settled.
But let’s say Harper Lee isn’t fully on board and that she has spent the majority of her life refusing to publish this story.
So, why now? Possibly, she no longer cares.
As she has been sick, she could be arranging her affairs and so forth to “go out with a bang,” if you will.
It could be that at the urging of family and friends, along with her lawyer, she no longer has the determination to withhold the book.
There are many possibilities. But, as much as I am excited to read this new story, I’m not so sure it should be published without Harper Lee outwardly expressing her wishes.
I think this is all quite a curiosity.
I do not know if the general public will ever know why Harper Lee is making this decision just now.
Maybe the answer will take the same amount of time it took her to publish the book (about 50 years) or maybe there is no adversity here and these are truly her wishes.
Either way, I’m surely going to read the novel, and if it is anything like “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I know I will love it.