I Ain’t Gonna Let Anyone Rain On My Parade: Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman



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.

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird, #2)

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 MockingbirdMaybe 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.


21 thoughts on “I Ain’t Gonna Let Anyone Rain On My Parade: Thoughts on Go Set a Watchman

  1. I feel just the same way about To Kill a Mockingbird. That book literally changed the way I look at books, at other people, and at life. And as for the characters, Atticus is still my favorite, but they all stole a little piece of my heart. 🙂

    As for the speculation about Go Set a Watchman, I figure it’s best to ignore it too. Harper Lee says she’s (if I may quote her directly) “happy as hell” about the release and as for the quality of the book . . . well no one can really judge that until they’ve read it, right? First thing on July 14, I’m going to the bookstore and buying me a copy.


  2. Good for you! I know you’ve seen my post on the subject, so I won’t go into that, but this is a great way to view things. 😀 YOU GO AND ENJOY THAT BOOK, GIRL. *throws glitter*


  3. I’m going to look at the glass half full too! Harper Lee wrote a magnificent book full of emotion and difficult themes and now the very same author has another book for all of us to enjoy:)
    You’re happiness from this news radiates from your post;) And since it’s your true favourite book, the more Harper Lee the merrier:D
    Lovely post and don’t let anyone rain on your parade!


  4. I adored TKM and I can’t wait for Go Set A Watchman. I’m trying to be hopeful and not too skeptical. I hope it works out and is really good! I just love the messages and themes of TKM. It’s truly inspiring and we can always relate to standing up for what is right in the face of adversaries. Lovely post <33


  5. I have to admit that I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve seen the movie, but I know that is not the same thing:P

    I’m definitely going to read it before July, so I can be in the know about this “new” book.

    Great post! Don’t let anyone rain on your parade!


  6. Ah yes. To Kill a Mockingbird was a truly shaping book for me. Like you said, it opened me to look at the world in a new way, to question it as never before and to enjoy its beauty. I too have often wondered and wished for more from Harper Lee. So when I heard the news I was ecstatic.

    I respect her so much, and thus really really want this all to be real and legitimate. if I KNEW it was a scam and that she was taken advantage of, I probably couldn’t read the book. BUT until I hear solid evidence proving foul play, I’m going to follow you in allowing myself to feel all the enthusiasm and excitement that the news brought me.


  7. Wow Atticus Finch is one of my favorite characters ever. I’m hoping there will be more of him in GSaW.

    As for the pessimism, I think the only reason I wouldn’t be excited about GSaW is if Harper Lee legitimately didn’t want it to be published. I would respect an author’s decision on that front. However, I’ve heard that GSaW was her original idea for TKaM, before she was told to change it to have a younger POV. Knowing that, I’m pumped.


  8. I loved To Kill A Mockingbird as well! I also read it 2 years ago when I was in the 7th grade. Seeing that there would be a sequel for Harper Lee’s book was something I LEAST expected in the world. Because as far as I know, I barely see any good classics out there who have sequels! But I’m really glad the story continues ❤ I can't believe Harper Lee took that long to decide to make a second book 😛


  9. I am sad to admit that I haven’t yet managed to read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, but I have seen all the debate about this book. And I kind of wonder, who in their right minds would be upset about a book from a famous author being published? A whole lot of poets and composers have had their work published posthumously, and some of it is truly amazing. Whether or not Harper Lee intended it to be published, it’s another book. And isn’t that a wonderful thing?


  10. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK!! I actually read TKAMB this year, and I had my doubt about it when I started, but I ended up loving it 😀 And now that there is a sequel, I am thrilled! Great post! 😉


  11. So many people talk about these books, but I’ve never read them! Why not? *kills the library for not having the books I want to read*
    I love to hate characters. There is nothing like a good bit of hating when reading! You know it’s a good book when you can enjoy hating the despicable characters:)


  12. Mmkay, so I’m going to voice an unpopular opinion here: I’m not sure I agree with this mindset.

    I am a die-hard Harper Lee fan and, as with so many others who read it, “Mockingbird” was nothing short of revolutionary for me. It shaped many of my expectations for not only classics, but the other books I read, and – well, you know the story just as well as I do, judging from your lovely description of your feelings. It’s a freaking amazing book, to put it colloquially, and “Watchman” promises to be just as incredible.

    But I think it’s my responsibility as both a reader and an author to keep my eyes open and stay informed about the controversy surrounding this book, and I would daresay the same for all of us. If Harper Lee didn’t want this book to be published, that is a huge issue that we can’t just ignore. Yes, there’s a possibility that she was totally happy with the decision, but there’s also the possibility that she was coerced into it. Just because one of those scenarios is more pleasant than the other does not mean we can simply turn a blind eye to the latter.

    It is so important for art to be put out into the world, and I would be over the moon if “Watchman” did turn out to be ethically published – but at this point, we don’t have enough information to determine that. And it’s our job as readers to make sure that the authors who create that art are truly comfortable with us partaking in it.

    So all I’m saying is: yes, please be excited about this – but don’t just sweep all the controversy over the rug. Listen. Take note. Form your own opinions, but let them be intelligent ones.


  13. Yes the excitement for this sequel (prequel? I dunno what to call it anymore hahha) is infectious. I’ve still yet to read TKAM and now I am even more enthusiastic about reading it.

    Excellent post, Ana <33


  14. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and I also Squeeled with delight when I heard about Harper Lee’s rediscovered book.
    I was a little upset by the criticism and speculation, but I love your outlook. I will most definitely be reading Go Set A Watchman and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that Harper Lee wants is published.


  15. I’m afraid that all the scam talk is true, but not so much that it’s going to stop me from reading Go Set a Watchman. I bet it would have been published anyways after Harper Lee dies, right?


  16. Frankly, I was discouraged too when I heard the scam talk and such. But I’m still super excited. Oh my goodness! Your review made me want to go reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD even though I have a huge TBR list because I love that book so much! *takes deep breath* I really related to Boo, and I found Scout’s voice so refreshing. I think Harper Lee has such an interesting perspective on life, and I too was disappointed when I learned that she had written nothing else. Despite all the rumors, I’m determined to enjoy GO SET A WATCHMAN, even if it’s objectively bad–though I seriously doubt that will be the case. Thanks for sharing!


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