Get Over It, Harper Lee Fans (or ex-fans, as it may be)

Harper Lee booksAdvice to authors: watch your back, because if you have the audacity to not meet your readers’ demands, you will be skewered. I feel for Harper Lee. It took only a matter of days to rip her down from a place of reverence and admiration (a position readers have bestowed upon her over the last fifty-five years) all because readers sanctified one of her characters.

(A character who the amazing Gregory Peck gave a nice, polished finish to.) 

Go Set a Watchman tells the truth and the truth can hurt. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Finch is defending the law, not supporting desegregation. We see Atticus through the eyes of his adoring 6-year-old daughter, so it’s not hard to imagine readers becoming the same 6-year-old who later discovers disappointing truths. But to say things like, Harper Lee ruined my life; and To Kill a Mockingbird is no longer my favorite book, is childish and petty. To suggest that Lee owed readers a happy ending to the lives of these fictional characters is selfish. You don’t have to like it, but to tear her down because of it, is terrible. Get over it.

To Kill a Mockingbird took on a life of its own and it’s no wonder Lee didn’t publish anything until now. If anyone wants a happy wrap-up to the lives of Scout, Jem, and Atticus, then take to the fan fiction boards and write your own damn sequel. 

Lee didn’t owe us a thing.  


2 thoughts on “Get Over It, Harper Lee Fans (or ex-fans, as it may be)

  1. Patricia Stoltey

    After all the commentary, I want to read Go Set the Watchman more than ever. Although I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, I never felt that attachment to the characters many readers did, and I like the idea of a novel that correctly reflects the times in that setting, much as Mark Twain’s novels did for the Midwest.

    You could right this same blog post to fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones. The heroes keep dying…and the fans keep getting upset. It’s a story about war, greed, and killing. What do they expect?

    1. April J. Moore

      Good comparison, Pat. I think the release of Watchman came at a particularly interesting time when we are still seeing race issues. Watchman never would have gotten published when she wrote it because of the subject matter. And now, I hope people understand why.


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