By: Aiyana Moore ~Staff Writer~
Tonja Carter, close friend and lawyer of Harper Lee, planned to spend her day working through legal documents for her client but found, instead, what she thought to be the original manuscript of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
This old manuscript, though it contained many recognizable names from “Mockingbird,” was something completely different.
Immediately, Carter called Lee to ask about the newfound book. “Complete?” Lee said when asked if the manuscript was finished. “I guess so. It was the parent of Mockingbird.”
“Go Set a Watchman,” the title of the recently discovered manuscript, was the novel that Lee originally intended to to publish.
When the publisher suggested that protagonist, Scout, be written as a child instead of an adult, Lee responded with bestseller “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Since “Mockingbird’s” release in 1960, Lee has not published another book.
“I wrote one good book and that was enough,” Lee said in defense of her literary absence.
According to Lee, she had thought that the “Go Set a Watchman” manuscript had been lost long ago.
With its release date set for July 14, 2015, “Go Set a Watchman” has already reached No. 1 on Amazon presales.
Though “Watchman” still follows the lives of Scout and her father, Atticus, it tells a different story than “Mockingbird.”
“Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch — Scout — struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society and the small Alabama town that shaped her,” Amazon.com said in its description of the book. The 55-year-gap between books, however, does not come without controversy.
Since Lee had previously been adamant about not publishing anything after “Mockingbird,” fans have expressed concern about Lee’s actual desire to have “Watchman” published.
Several fans have questioned whether the decision to publish
“Watchman” was Lee’s own, or if it was forced on her by her publishers. Close friends of Lee, who is now 88, say that she is lucid and that no one would proceed with “Watchman’s” release without her permission.
Due to Lee’s secluded nature and position in assisted living, she has been unavailable for interviews.
According to Carter, however, Lee claims to be “alive and kicking” and extremely happy with the responses to “Watchman.”