Harper Lee is publishing a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird! You know, that book you read in high school along with stuff from Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare and a bunch of other dead writers? The fact that the author is still alive is as much a surprise as the announcement that she’s publishing her second book ever.
Go Set a Watchmen has something of a legacy to live up to, what with its prequel winning every literary prize known to mankind, and earning its author numerous honorary degrees, the National Medal of Arts and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Indeed, Harper Lee has always steadfastly refused to write another book, stating “I said what I had to say” and “When you’re at the top, there’s only one way to go.” But according to the author, Watchmen was actually the book she’d originally intended to write, but her editor advised her to first write a prequel starring the main character in her early years. After its unpredictably perpetual success, the original not-a-prequel manuscript was supposedly lost until her lawyer “recently discovered it.”
So what does this have to do with Team Fortress 2? Ummm….it was written in the same time period? And the main character is named Scout? I don’t know, but this book played a very big role in my childhood and my pursuing of literature and writing as a field of study, so I had to write about this. Heck, it’s part of the reason I use “Aabicus Finch” as my online persona. Harper Lee is one of the most famous authors who only wrote a single book, and the fact that she’s coming out of a half-century retirement is…unexpected, to put it mildly. I can only give her the benefit of the doubt, much like Dan Lasseter with Toy Story 4, and say that she has proven in interviews to be well aware of the hazards of continuing the series, and she wouldn’t be doing this if she didn’t think it was going to be worth it. Alternately, she could be doing it because she’s 88 years old, partially blind, deaf, and suffering from memory loss, but in that case at least we’ll now get to read the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. Cause you know editors ain’t touching something written by Harper “I created Atticus Finch” Lee.
Will the next generation be reading Go Set a Watchman in schools? Will it inspire as many people as the countless lawyers who entered their profession because of Tom Robinson’s trial? All we can do is read the 304-page novel when it comes out on July 15 and decide for ourselves. As far as sequels go, only time will tell if it goes the way of Love Never Dies or the way of Huckleberry Finn.