Please Don’t Kill My Mockingbird

I’ve just been blown away by the news that I’ve just heard, and I am usually the most calmest of Jackdaws.

To Kill A Mockingbird is my favourite book of all time, and I have long since reconciled myself to the fact that Harper Lee was not going to have any more books published. The frustration of this is up there with the split up of The Beatles, the deaths of John Lennon and Jeff Buckley, and the abandonment of poetry by Arthur Rimbaud at the age of twenty one. Oh, and also my inability to master the guitar.

The young Rimbaud.

The young Rimbaud.

But now I have heard that there is a new Harper Lee book to be published, the book that she originally wrote in the 1950’s and put aside on the recommendation of her publisher. It seems that this book is set twenty years after Mockingbird, and deals with the adult Scout grappling with personal and political issues on returning to Maycomb after visiting her father, Atticus, (that long-held ideal of fatherhood) in New York.

My #1, discerning reader that I am.

My #1, discerning reader that I am.

Apparently this book, entitled Go Set A Watchman, was written first, but when the publisher was taken with Scout’s childhood flashbacks, he or she persuaded Lee to tell that story instead, and so To Kill A Mockingbird was born. But now, sixty years later, that original manuscript has been discovered, and is being released on July 14th. A sequel to Mockingbird, but written first.

I really don’t know how to feel about this. I have never been so excited about the release of a book in my life, but that excitement is also laced with fear. Fear that, after all this time, that first book will not measure up. That, unexpected though this new book is, it will somehow fall short of a book that has to many, I included, set an impossible standard to follow.

I’m going to read it, of course I am. How could I not? But as that publication date nears, I fear that it is going to scare the hell out of me. I can already hear my wife:

“Get a grip for God’s sake! Get a grip!”

But I have waited for this since I was an awkward sixteen year old in my English Literature class.

Now:Amazon pre-order here I come.

Our marriage is going to be sorely tested.

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18 thoughts on “Please Don’t Kill My Mockingbird

  1. My wife came in from work and I put my arms around her:” Have I got some news for you!” She replied “It’s going to be something stupid about Agnetha Faltskog, or Hammer Horror films, or Jim Morrison or something!”
    I told her. Her stare was that blank I thought she was catatonic.
    I have another five months to try and get her to ‘get it’ 🙂

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    • Me neither. Can you tell?!!!
      I have read a word of warning though, about how Harper Lee’s sister, who was a lawyer, was the person who advised her and shielded her from the limelight, and has recently died. So perhaps, the ailing, elderly Lee may have been ill advised about this project, and tends to sign things out in front of her sometimes without fully realising what it is she is doing.
      So I am trying to temper my excitement, just in case.
      And still failing 🙂

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      • The way I look at it, even if the second (really first) book doesn’t hold up to Mockingbird, it will still be an opportunity to read her work when she was starting her writing career. That in itself is invaluable. I’m afraid there is nothing to temper my excitement. Breathlessly awaiting July!!

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  2. Thank you for being honest about your fear. I am actually scared to death about the second book. What if it doesn’t measure up to the first? What if it spoils the safe, comfortable spot of perfect adulation I have in my heart for the original? What a literary fork in the road! Somehow, I will breathe my way through it. May we all be well satisfied!

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    • That is exactly how I feel. The same way how a Beatles reunion would only have disappointed (I’m a big Beatles fan, too). I have already pre-ordered on Amazon-the first time I have ever done that with ANY book. Here’s to satisfaction! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never felt that there was anything else that needed to be told after TKAM. Yes, I’m interested. I may very well read it someday. But I think I’ll wait for the reviews to come in (usually, I don’t pay attention to them).

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    • Me too, initially. But perhaps that is because Mockingbird was the second book she wrote-that was the tying up of loose ends posed by the unknown to us first book? I don’t know-we shall see.

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      • Like others here I’m nervous about the release of the original book but I like the idea that it will be good to read jointly with To Kill A Mockingbird and that it might, at the very least, spark curiosity amongst new Harper Lee readers to go on to read TKAM if they haven’t already.

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