I first read "To Kill a Mockingbird" when I was 11 years old. I have read it at least 15 times since then and I watch the movie every chance I get. To say that I was excited about Harper Lee's second novel, a continuation of Scout's life, is an understatement.
I don't think I will ever read To Kill a Mockingbird again...this second novel, "Go Set a Watchman" has forever ruined that story for me. Never again will I watch the movie and think that Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, was a man who I admired nearly as much as my own father.
Atticus Finch was my hero. He was a man who I, along with his daughter Scout, was led to believe stood up for those things that were right and just and true, regardless of the cost to him or his family. Instead of shielding his family, he helped them to learn that living with yourself, being proud of the person you see in the mirror, was much more important than other people's opinions.
Now we learn in this second novel that Atticus is only human after all and that he was not a great man nor was he a hero. He was just an average guy who gives in to pressure and hate and bias like the rest of the world. Scout found it in her heart to forgive him for his humanness. I cannot. What would have been wrong with Atticus remaining the great and strong man that we knew and loved? I can't believe that Harper Lee could not have found a way to write this book without dashing the fantasy, dreams and ideals she had built up in her loyal followers.
Very sad....I am glad to be moving on to my next in the queue. "Before You Know Kindness" by Chris Bohjalian. I loved the "Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian and have been looking forward to reading another by this author. I hope it works out better than the last second novel.