Will I Read Go Set A Watchman ? Umm…. No.

So Harper Lee has a new novel coming out.  Will I read Go Set A Watchman?

Like many, my exposure to To Kill A Mockingbird, was at school as part of my English curriculum.  Let’s get one thing straight right from the off.  I didn’t like school.  It’s entirely probable my school didn’t like me much either.

It’s funny how the memories of reading certain books evoke different emotions.  Take Frank Herbert’s Dune.  I remember reading it as a dorky 16 year-old during summer holidays at Point Lonsdale in 1986.  I remember the smell of the coconut tanning oil, that godawful beach towel I thought was cool, and my severe awkwardness around every single girl I met who was remotely near my age.  I remember immersing myself in Herbert’s world so completely I was both sheltered from embarrassment at my own awkwardness, and probably blind to any interest any of the fore-mentioned girls may have shown in me.  God, I was a dweeb!  Still am, I guess, but that doesn’t matter much any more.  I’ll be 45 this month, and there’s very little left in this world that could embarrass me at all.

To Kill A Mockingbird?  I read that in 1987.  I was in Year 11, which was probably the worst year of my life at high school.  Here I am in year 12, looking much as I did the year before.


Sure I liked the book.  I thought the movie was okay, even though it was in black and white.  But the whole experience was soured by the horrid time I was having at school.  I can imagine many readers feel the same way about certain authors.  I know folk who refuse outright to read Dickens or Shakespeare for similar reasons.

Sorry Harper Lee.  Unless Go Set A Watchman makes it onto either of my daughters’ school curricula, I won’t read it.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just me.