Fifty-four years ago, Harper Lee wrote the outstanding novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I remember reading this sophomore year, and groaning over how much I hate books that have anything to do with trials. But the book was more than just a trial. It stressed the importance of moral education and showed a major lack of social equality. I also found the novel incredibly charming, especially because the book is from the perspective of the little girl protagonist, Scout. This was actually one of the few books I did not use Sparknotes on.
Despite the novel being an amazing success, “To Kill A Mockingbird” was the only book that Harper Lee ever published. But that is about to change. A year ago, Lee’s friend and lawyer rediscovered a manuscript that Lee wrote before Mockingbird that was never published. The book was called “Go Set a Watchman,” and featured Scout as an adult returning to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1950s to see her father Atticus. Lee actually wrote this book before “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but when she presented it to her editor, his favorite scenes were the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood. He persuaded her to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout, which she agreed to do. The result: Mockingbird became a hit and Watchman was lost and presumably forgotten.
After the manuscript was found, the media-shy author was encouraged by her friends and family to publish it. Lee issued a statement saying she is “happy as hell” about the upcoming novel. “I
hadn’t realized it [the original book] had survived,” she said. “After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication.”
“Go Set a Watchman” is set to be released July 14th, but if you want, you can pre-order right now on Amazon. I am stoked about the novel and July 14th cannot come soon enough.