". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Go Read Another Harper Lee Novel

I finished reading Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman last night. I know some people have reservations about reading it. There is speculation about whether its publication was her will or that of unscrupulous people out to profit from her work, and there is concern about the effect the book will have on the reputation of Lee's masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the book. I would urge reading it on its own merits, for what it has to offer apart from To Kill a Mockingbird. For it certainly has much to recommend it. It was unexpectedly funny. But more important, it is a vividly drawn portrait of a character, Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, who is just as compelling as a grown woman as she was as a young girl. And the theme of initiation, of the realization that the world and its inhabitants are a lot more complicated than they seemed when we were children, is universal. If you as a devotee of To Kill a Mockingbird are worried that your image of Atticus is going to be compromised by reading this book, you are in good company because that is exactly the crisis facing Scout as she visits her hometown in Go Set a Watchman. It is something that we all go through as we become adults and realize our parents are--surprise!--mere human beings. My advice: take Scout's hand, walk alongside her, and see where the journey leads. I think you'll be glad you did.

And if you aren't, I apologize in advance. :-)

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