For months now Go Set A Watchman is all it seems readers can talk about. Although, with the juggernaut of marketing behind it, it isn’t too hard to believe. Part of me really wants to read it. I am all caught up in the hoopla and want to be part of the herd. The more purist and respectful side of me keeps those actions at bay though. I mean, there is an overwhelming situation. She wrote this book before To Kill a Mockingbird, she never published it or any other book. Do you think at eighty-nine she was like, “Shit I need more money, I should publish that first draft of my classic and only published book that has sat somewhere for the last fifty plus years?” There was even a court case where her mental capacity was scrutinized, in order to see if she did possess the mental faculties to actually put this whole publishing whirlwind in order.
I really want to read it, but I don’t think I can. I remember when I was little watching the Wizard of Oz. As a resident Kansasan who lived thirty minutes away from one of the Wizard of Oz museums, I was a big fan. Then Return to Oz came out and fucked my shit right up. I have only seen that movie once in my life and that was probably enough.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have known the movie was screwed from the beginning when usually angry and creepy Fairuza Balk was cast as Dorothy. The story itself was a mash-up of the some of the books and overall much, much darker than the original.
Everything is destroyed, from the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. Instead of flying monkeys, there are Wheelers, humanoids with wheels instead of hands and feet. In the place of the Wicked Witch of the West, there is Princess Mombi. Who, not even a minute, after meeting Dorothy is like Hey you wanna go check my hallway full of female heads? followed by Check out my cool trick, I just swap my head out like some women change shoes! Not to mention that all the characters I loved from the first movie are either no shows or too different from the original. I was five or six at the time. Maybe if I had had a double of Jack with my popcorn I could have processed the whole thing better.
Even though I can have a drink now, I don’t want the same thing to happen to me again. She didn’t publish that book for some reason. Mostly because her editor apparently asked for a re-write that would become To Kill A Mockingbird. Basically, Go Set A Watch is a first draft that was almost completely rewritten. It isn’t canonical, it is a time travelling paradoxical mishap. A subtitle could be To Kill A Mockingbird: The Darkest Timeline. Characters are completely different, things that happen in To Kill A Mockingbird haven’t necessarily happened in Go Set A Watchman.
Why she never picked it back up and wrote it as a true sequel, we may never know. Whether it be that she wanted to avoid the sophomore slump or because it just wasn’t as good as the first, it doesn’t matter. Our perspectives of Atticus and Scout are about to change. Something seems fishy, but with the amount of money being thrown into the marketing of this book none of us seem to smell it or can at least tolerate it.