In the Spring of 2015 I attended the Romantic Times (RT) Convention as a bookseller/librarian. This meant that I had access to panels designed for the bookseller/librarian. One of the panels asked for audience participation by asking us what books we had never read. I never read THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Woodiwiss, but had read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee a student in what we called Junior High (more commonly known today as Middle School).
Do I actually remember reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or any of the feelings I had about it back then. Sorry to say no, as that was many more years ago than I’m quite willing to admit. With the release and all all the chatter about GO SET A WATCHMAN I wondered what I was going to do about reading GO SET A WATCHMAN.
So what I did, was I waited, and allowed a friend to read the book first. I then asked her what she thought, and based on her opinion decided that I needed to be able to be one of those who said I’ve read GO SET A WATCHMAN. My next question…should I reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD? Her answer yes, so that’s what I did.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was released in 1960 according to the GOOGLE search I did. That’s slightly before the Civil Rights Movement really got going. I now think that it had to be really forward thinking for its time, and as another friend told me yesterday really had a lot of issues that are even topical for today…rape, single parenthood, race, and even is school doing everything it can to educate our students for their futures.
GO SET A WATCHMAN was just recently released even though it was written prior to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. GO SET A WATCHMAN is told from Scout now known as Jean Louise’s point of view and it’s a very different story than TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I refuse to put any spoilers for those who haven’t yet read it, but I have to say I didn’t like the characters at all, and that was very different from the emotions that TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD pulled from me.
I had written some thoughts, but then check Wikipedia discovered that the thoughts I had were likely wrong, and that GO SET A WATCHMAN is likely the first draft of what when on to become the iconic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. My final thoughts…I say refresh your memory with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, and then do what I did and borrow a copy of GO SET A WATCHMAN from the library and see what you think for yourself.