- A first draft is a first draft. I like To Kill a Mockingbird even more now.
- The ending left me completely bewildered and without closure.
Let me start off by saying, I sort of liked the book. Harper Lee’s writing was less polished but it was still Harper Lee’s writing. Adult Scout was a fun concept, which allowed Lee to examine the happenings around her with a different perspective. I enjoyed Scout’s (I refuse to call her by her real name Jean Louise) internal struggle when the picture she had of her dad clashed with his current actions. Having read To Kill a Mockingbird before it also clashed with my memory of him. But I was prepared for that, as I had heard from others that Atticus wasn’t the Atticus I know. And to be honest, that didn’t bother me much. People change, people are complex, people are more than just one book, and I highly doubt To Kill a Mockingbird is enough to accurately portray the real Atticus. Sidenote, I wonder how many times I will say To Kill a Mockingbird? So with that said, Atticus was still sort-of-Atticus or close-enough-Atticus to me.
The thing that baffled me the most was the “romance” between Scout and her childhood friend Henry, who just so happens to come from a poor background and is now an aspiring lawyer under Atticus’ guidance. Gag. So predictable. The relationship is weird and in my opinion adds nothing to the plot. I think Lee tried to give Henry the voice of reason when Scout discovers her dad’s involvement with the KKK, but this fell really flat. In the end, Henry sided with Atticus based on that he owes him his career instead of mediating between what Scout thought her father was and what she discovered him to be.
But the most bothersome was the ending. It promised so much and then just abruptly ceased to exist. The climax of the story was Scout confronting her father, which would have made for a fantastic conclusion if the confrontation would’ve conveyed emotions of personal struggle and growth. It was just kind of meh, not good, not bad, it was just there. This would’ve been an excellent opportunity for Lee to highlight what every 20-something goes through: nothing ever is at it is appears, your parents are also only humans, they make mistakes, they’re wrong at times, and they are still growing as people as well. I liked that Atticus was not this ideal father, I liked that Scout discovered that and had to come to grips with it, I liked that the story revolves around the South facing the Civil Rights movement and Lee described its struggles with it, and I liked that different philosophies all came face to face at the end, but nothing really was resolved in a way that made me believe any of the main characters understood the other’s point of view.
So really the only thing left to say is that To Kill a Mockingbird is the final draft of Go Set a Watchman, and whoever suggested to write the book through the eyes of a young Scout is a genius. And really people, when do we ever get the chance to read someone’s early draft of a literary masterpiece such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird?! I for one am glad I read this book, even if it may just be a supplement to Lee’s true monumental accomplishment.
And for anyone tallying this, I said it 6 times. I’m out.