Normally, a way that someone would kill a book series is to make a mediocre sequel that contributes almost nothing to the overall story. But for the infamous “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and its brand new sequel, apparently you just need to get the word out that a literary character that was made famous by standing up to racial stereotypes is now a racist person. And, you should do it the week before the release of said sequel.
Yeah, I remember seeing the news of Atticus Finch being portrayed as a racist in “Go Set A Watchman,” which was released just yesterday as I’m writing this, and I haven’t stopped seeing news about it since. I don’t know if this is some weird marketing scheme to garner hype for a critically acclaimed classics’ sequel being released, but if it is, it kind of did and kind of didn’t work.
Most of the stuff that I’ve seen regarding the news that Atticus Finch is racist is pretty negative. Some people are saying that they refuse to buy it, others are now hesitant in reading the sequel, and the general consensus is that no one really likes that idea. And ever since that tidbit was released, there have been dozens of articles about whether or not someone should go and get the sequel novel, for reasons that argue for and against the purchase of the novel.
The articles themselves don’t surprise me. After all, there were (and still are) rumors that nudge towards conspiracy level stories surrounding the book deal of the sequel being published in the first place. What does surprise me is the surge of articles that I kept seeing after the initial trend on social media. It reminded me of the My Little Pony promo a few years ago that revealed, rather spoiler-ish like, that one of the main characters was becoming an “alicorn,” as they call it in the show. After that was revealed the week before the episode finale, no one who was a fan of that show would shut up about it, even after the season had ended. This whole thing regarding racist Atticus in “Go Set A Watchman” reminds me of that, where something is revealed that ruins people’s view of a character for better or, in most people’s opinions, for the worst.
Granted, there were some people that were still curious about the sequel and wanted to read it despite this news. I for one still want to read it because I find that kind of development in a character interesting. I want to know the answer as to how someone like Atticus went from being a symbol against racism to becoming a racist person himself.
But from what I can tell, if this was some weird marketing campaign to get hype for this book, this probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. This isn’t like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” where the ridiculous controversy and writing made people want to see for themselves what it was about. This kind of news wasn’t really encouraging people to go buy the sequel. It kind of deterred people, from what I’ve read.
The only thing that I as a person have a problem with is that the sequel is freaking expensive for me. There was some sort of bundle deal that Books A Million! tried to sell to me through a promo email, and it was somewhere along $45. Yeah, I don’t have that kind of money on me. And even if I didn’t get the bundle deal, it’s still on the high-end of prices regarding books, being so new and all. I may end up waiting until it’s on paperback or get it cheaper somewhere else before I can read it. Or borrow it from a local library when it’s off a really long waiting list.
Either way, I am personally intrigued by the sequel, despite everyone’s opinions on this small tidbit, but like every other book news and trends, I’ll probably be boarding the last train of this hype.