The news that Harper Lee is publishing a new novel (that isn’t so new) — Go Set a Watchman — is troubling to me. However, the overwhelming chorus of “Yays!” from people who have read To Kill a Mockingbird makes me think I might be somewhat alone in that regard.
Still, I was a bit annoyed.
I couldn’t help it. I read the novel when I was in middle school and then again in high school. Both times I loved it.
After briefly feeling intrigued at the news, I was immediately horrified. Why does she have to come out with a novel now? Has anybody asked that question? Why now? She can do whatever she wants, yes, but she’s 88 years old. By coming out with a new novel right now, Lee runs the risk of ruining the legacy built by To Kill A Mockingbird.¹
Imagine if the new novel is bad. It isn’t as though Harper Lee is so good that she is incapable of writing a bad one. Even John Updike, arguably one of the best novelists of the 20th century, wrote some novels that weren’t very good.
Although Lee hasn’t written a novel since To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, her reputation has remained invulnerable. It is now 2015, and she is still widely celebrated as one of the best novelists in American literature.
I’m sure she won’t slip from that ranking, but why ruin a good thing?
¹It’s also possible that my resistance is a result of commercialized filmmaking that constantly has to churn out new installments to movies, like Ted 2, Mockingjay: Part 2, and Fast and the Furious number 84.
Previously from Christopher Cruz:
♦ Why I am Drawn to “Togetherness”
♦ The Deflated (But Not Yet Defeated) New England Patriots
♦ Why Our Choices Matter
♦ A Listicle You Can’t Refuse: The Five Best Movies I Saw This Year
♦ Wait, When Did Playing Video Games Become a Sport?