I actually had this book pre-ordered on Amazon and read it pretty much within 48 hours of it being released. Thanks to Batman etc (see here) I've only just been able to really share with you what I thought about such a controversial book. Funnily, I was actually one of the few people with the first issued copies which included some missing text, spent the end few chapters rather confused and was even more bewildered when another copy landed on my doorstep a few days later. Lesson learned: check your emails. Had I have done this I'd have realised that Amazon had very kindly informed me and sent the extra parts over email to avoid such confusion!
I figure if you're reading this post that you have enough interest in Harper Lee or 'To Kill a Mockingbird' or both to appreciate the debate over whether 'Go Set A Watchman' should have been released. I know many who have chosen not to read this, weighing up the moral value as to whether Harper Lee really is in a strong enough state of mind to make the decision herself, or that she may have been taken advantage of and coerced into releasing a novel that we must remember was written before TKAM. I was one of those who really did struggle with the decision to read this, I vigorously followed the battle between publishers and public; (though I must say, Lee's family have remained politely quiet throughout the debate) changing my mind throughout the run-up to the book's release. When it was finally announced that GSAW was going to be released, questioning reading it seemed insignificant almost. If this book was going to be released whether I decided to read it or not, surely it seems silly not to?
I've read TKAM a few times that approaching a book that was written, not only before it but that was the original intended read, gave me an instant passion for wanting to decipher the story. Snippets of TKAM are rife in GSAW and it certainly reads as a more unpolished novel. I kind of liked that about the book though and found myself relating to the actual writing of it more than many modern books.
The story itself affected me more than a book has in a very long time. Honestly, it completely ripped my heart from my chest that I found myself following the masses in despair and hatred for Atticus; shouting at the pages for Jean Scout to walk away and leave such a wretched place. Having held a character in your heart as such a hero for so many years, such a realistic portrayal of how Atticus felt was incredibly moving and it wasn't until those final few chapters where I realised that my respect and empathy for his character had actually increased in a way that I think has also come with my own maturity. The moral of GSAW is so deep and thought provoking that it instils an emotion that stays with you after the final pages have finished. I thought about this book for days afterwards and would honestly recommend it to anyone.
Have you read Go Set A Watchman? Are you one of the people who couldn't bare to read it? I'd really love to talk to any and everybody who has read this about their thoughts!
Love Sophie Xx