Oh Lord, this book.
Go Set a Watchman is bad. So much worse than I could have imagined.
But so very instructive.
It's a coming of age tale.... If, by "coming of age," you mean "how to grow up morally and emotionally by placing your feet solidly on top of an entire race....and how to justify it."
This is a book that you could say shouldn't have been published, but maybe it had to be. Maybe we, collectively, all Americans (and white folks, I'm talking about us), maybe we needed a good slap in the face. Maybe we needed to come face to face with just how big the lies are that we've been telling ourselves.
To Kill a Mockingbird was never America's defining book about race and justice. We just liked to think so. Atticus Finch, especially as played by Gregory Peck, played so well to white ideas of the gentleman, of the myth of individual nobility and justice.
Didn't you always, in your heart of hearts, suspect it wasn't true?
Shouldn't we have known that it was too easy, it couldn't be true.
It is not possible to live within the structure of white supremacy and structural racism as a white person and not benefit from the structure, thereby becoming complicit.
Go Set a Watchman is full of paternalism, racial superiority, bigotry.... in other words it's American.
If you haven't read Go Set a Watchman yet, you probably should read it. I guess. Just be prepared: it is repulsive, disgusting, disillusioning. Not for what it tells us about Atticus Finch, but for what it tells us about ourselves and the lies we need to tell ourselves.