This northern gal once visited Charlotte, NC where she saw a historical landmark sign indicating ‘President Davis slept here’. I thought: we never had a President Dav….. OHHHhhhhh.
I have a theory on Harper Lee, and it probably won’t be popular, but I kind of hope it’s true. I think Go Set a Watchman was the story she wanted to tell or the story she needed to tell to work through her own issues. Because she is a person raised in a small town, who goes off the New York and sees the the world differently. How disappointing to be disillusioned with a place you once loved, a society you believed in, a father you loved so well. Her society, how she was raised, her childhood itself that tarnished now. How to go on? Certainly long, rambling rants against the injustice of it all is one way!
After pulling off the feat of writing a novel as a first time author, and one with many lovely passages, then to be told that the flashbacks to childhood are more interesting, to be asked how did Atticus become such a hero, what did young Scout see to believe so much in him, in her world ? And then this idealized version of the person who hurt her, who let her down so much becomes a hero to the world? What happens when you are acclaimed, win the Pulizer Prize and all the rest by portraying potentially your biggest heartache as idyllic? You become a recluse, lapse into Boo Radley mode. Why not. He didn’t like the world he saw, and nor do you. And now, in your advanced years, sister is gone, you think: I’m going to tell my real story, of how the south let me down, how even though my father is flawed, I can still find a way back to love him. He’s a character from his time, fighting for life as he’s always known it.
This is a flawed book, that certainly could have improved with an editor. But it’s also a thought provoking book, a book that makes one feel things, think about who Scout and Atticus are, who you are, which is what makes literature great. So those of you ranting and raving at the disappointment of this different Atticus, aren’t you feeling the same things Scout is feeling? The rants I’ve heard and read rival Scout’s in the book. Good! Feel the feels! I do, and I’ll be thinking about this book for some time. That and wondering what ever became of Boo…