Saturday 4 June 2016

26 Books: A Book Set in The Summer

This would have number 14 in Bringing Up Burns 2015

Right time of year! Just E this time.

This was a hard one to find - most books change seasons. Actually, that's not true; there seem to be plenty, but they're all set in Winter! It's weird. So, a real challenge:

'Go Set a Watchman' by Harper Lee (E): This was always going to be a disappointment. I think everyone knew this before even reading it. We were all prepared.

I just wasn't prepared in the right way. I thought it might be less well written, less refined, poorly edited, perhaps? But, I didn't expect to hate her.

Perhaps hate is a strong word. But what did she do to my beloved characters? I don't know this Scout. And where's Jem? Just absent. And Dill? No mention at all. And Atticus made me
want to cry.

Is Lee trying to show us, by choosing to publish this now, that things change and admiring good deeds is rubbish, because there'll always be a story behind them, a reason, a catch? Or was TKAM just written for fun, and this was her real novel, her real calling? Or the first hundred thousand words of dross that every writer comes out with? Or she was unhappy, or cynical, or bitter and she wanted her readers to know what the real world is like? Well, call me naive, but I just don't want to hear that. TKAM is a childhood classic, and I don't want that spoilt. What was this book? Atticus... I can't forgive him. I can't forgive Harper Lee. I hate it.

However, I'm glad to have read it, in spite of everything I've said. Admittedly, part of the reason was that I didn't want to feel left out of the hype of this release, but also because I 'owed it' to Harper Lee. I didn't like the story she was telling, but I care about her as an author (in that strange way that we can care about writers we don't have any real knowledge of) and I wanted to hear what she had to say.

I'm just not sure what it was.

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