By now I am sure everyone who wanted a copy of "To Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee has gotten their hands on them.
I had two copies in my hands on Monday. The box with red label warning me not to put it on the shelves until Tuesday sat on my desk, unopened until Tuesday morning when I cataloged them and put them on the shelf. They lasted 25 minutes. Did I read one of them? No. Peek at the last page? Sort of, but just for cataloging purposes.
I just needed to make sure that the record had the correct number of pages listed for the item in hand.
Other than that, I have no interest in reading it.
I did, however, feel like a part of literary history.
The publisher's first run was 2 million copies!! 2 MILLION!
Here I am struggling to sell 100 ebooks so that my book goes to print. Then again, I'm not Harper Lee.
The problem is, this wasn't a sequel, this was her first draft. Her editor read it and suggested she do something else. Editors do that, it's their job. They know what sells, and they know what the author can do. If they thought it was a great book, they would have published it as-is then.
According to an article in the NY Daily News (and a whole bunch of other sources):
“Watchman” — the sequel — is actually the first novel Lee submitted in 1957. But her editor was fascinated with the “Mockingbird” plotline that was reflected in flashbacks, so she asked for a rewrite of the book from the perspective of the 6-year-old Scout instead of the adult one. As a result, the moral center of the novel shifted, too."
Timing of this book is suspect. Harper Lee waited how long to publish this? It was "discovered"?? It has been speculated that she was coerced into publishing this. Why? Money, I'm sure.
According to www.vox.com:
"Lee suffered a stroke in 2007, and she's currently suffering from dementia. It's not clear that she would be able to give informed consent about the publication of a new novel. The state of Alabama actually launched an elder-abuse investigation into Lee's situation earlier this year. It didn't find evidence of coercion or abuse, but it's impossible to rule them out with absolute certainty.
It seems all too plausible that lawyers could take advantage of Lee — especially for the sake of generating more profit for her estate. After all, the news of Go Set a Watchman's release was a boon to the publishing industry: The novel would have a ready-made audience in the millions of Americans who read Mockingbird in school (it's routinely among the most-assigned books in high school English classrooms) or at least managed to crib together an understanding from SparkNotes and the Peck movie."
I guess only time will tell if it will live up to the standards of "Mockingbird" but I for one will not be reading it.