I first read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee two years ago. I didn’t really have too many expectations for the book. All I knew was that so many people enjoyed this book, and it was a classic. I loved classics, and I still love classics, so I decided to pick it up. Besides, it has a gorgeous cover, so how could I resist?
I couldn’t have picked up a better book. I was swept into To Kill a Mockingbird, and it soon became my favorite book. The plot twisted and turned, racing around my head in circles and dripping with suspense. There were so many threads of story, all tightly woven together into a concise book that was somehow able to fit its many universal and wide-reaching themes into so few pages. Speaking of themes, Harper Lee was able to express the serious and time-proof themes of her book in such a natural way. The themes worked so well with the plot, and made me think about the book long after I closed it. It’s one of those books that leaves you in a book hangover when you’re finished because you can’t stop thinking about it. It resonate in my soul, and continues to do so.
I was also so attached to the characters in this book. There was Scout, an endearing young girl whose innocence led her to be less prejudiced than some, even though many of the people around her tried to shape her views in the wrong way. She was headstrong and able to think for herself. Her innocence only enhanced the themes and made Atticus’s role even greater.
I loved Atticus, too. Even though he housed the slightest bit of prejudice, he was one of the most unprejudiced people during his time, and he was able to set such a wonderful example for Scout and Jem. Jem made for a wonderful brother. While he and Dill weren’t always the nicest to Scout, they directly influenced the way she grew up, and were there to comfort her when she was down. I loved Boo as well. Sure he was a recluse who would rather stay away from others, but that didn’t mean he was a nasty man. Instead, he was loving and kind in an admirably quite and modest way. Along with Tom Robinson he was another character, that was used to show how much harm prejudice can do in the world.
And oh, I love to hate Mr. Ewell. What a despicable man, whose only purpose in life was to show prejudice towards those around him, and make life miserable for the people he hated. He manipulated his family in ways that tore them apart, and it was such a heartbreaking thing to see in a book.
With such a large and varied ensemble of characters, my mind whirled with even more delightful plotlines that I had to try to wrap my head around. I felt for these characters because they were all so neatly developed. I grew sad when they faced setbacks, and I cheered and smiled at the pages when they achieved small goals and victories. I wanted the characters to change, and I loved seeing them grow to better understand the world. And I think a magical thing happened when I read this book. Just like Scout and Jem and Dill, I, too began to understand the world a little bit more. To Kill a Mockingbird opened my eyes and made me feel. It made me question the world and delight in the beauty of it. But most of all, because it had become my favorite book, it made me want more books from Harper Lee.
Imagine my disappointment when I realized that Harper Lee hadn’t published any other books. I was left floundering in a book lover’s nightmare: no more books from my favorite author. All I could do was reread To Kill a Mockingbird over and over again. And I did. I reread it once on my own and once for school, and I want to reread it again soon. I delighted in finding new details every time I read, but I was still missing something. I wanted another book.
That’s when I heard about Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird that will be published this July. I literally squealed like a little kid when I first heard the news. I couldn’t believe it, and I thought that somehow, the news must be fake. Yet there it was on Goodreads and all over other news sources. I almost cried of joy. I never imagined that I would get to read another book by Harper Lee, much less the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. I raved about it on Goodreads, and I wrote about it on my blog’s sidebar. I tried not to scream the news to friends and teachers and family members. And you know what happened? I realized that half of the Internet isn’t as optimistic as I am.
I’ve heard complaints and negative speculation from so many people online. They say that this is all a scam. They say that Harper Lee didn’t want this book to be published. They wonder how a book can be lost and rediscovered, and they even go so far as to put “rediscovered” in quotes. They say that Go Set a Watchman will kill Harper Lee’s legacy and that of To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe the speculation is true. Yet at the same time, there’s as much a chance it isn’t true. We don’t know yet, so we have a choice. We can either look at the glass as half empty or as half full. We can retain our excitement for Go Set a Watchman, or we can think about all the negative sides of the equation.
I am now officially ignoring the speculation. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a book, so why should I let others make my excitement decrease? Why should I let others influence my opinion? Why should I let someone else’s negative thoughts completely ruin my positive thoughts? I am unbelievably excited about Go Set a Watchman, and I will stay that way. When Go Set a Watchman comes out, I will read it with an open mind and hold it close. Harper Lee publishing another novel is a dream come true, and I’m so glad that I get to experience it. In true Scout fashion, I ain’t gonna let anyone rain on my parade.