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10 Things To Consider Before Reading "Go Set A Watchman"

Can we be sure Harper Lee wanted her novel published?

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Harper Lee's new novel, Go Set a Watchman, will be released on Tuesday. Over 50 years after her first prolifiic novel, To Kill A Mocking Bird, questions abound as to why the reclusive writer would reveal this work to the public.

2. Lee Has Remained Wary of Fame For the Last 50 Years

Donald Uhrbrock / The LIFE Images Collection / Getty

According to friends and family, Lee has maintained that she will not publish another novel and has not given an interview since 1964. Claudia Durst Johnson claims "Nelle (Harper Lee) was always so insistent on not publishing anything else."

So why publish a new book now?

4. "Go Set a Watchman" Will Make Millions (or more)

Publisher Harper Collins will most definitely benefit, along with Lee and all those connected to her, making the potential for people to exploit her that much greater.

5. Friends Have Noticed Inconsistencies In Lee's Memory


Wayne Flynt, a friend of Lee's, said that she has trouble with her memory and when he last asked her about Go Set a Watchman she seemed to be "in her own world" at first, and then asked "What novel?" After reminding her of the novel's upcoming publication he remarked, "You must be so proud," and she then said "I'm not so sure anymore."

7. In 2011 Alice Lee Claimed Harper Lee Would "Sign Anything"


When Harper Lee released a statement that Marja Mill's biography of her life was unauthorized, Alice Lee wrote to Mills that "Poor Nelle Harper can't see and can't hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence. Now she has no memory of the incident."

9. Tonja Carter May Not Be An Entirely Reliable Lawyer

Harper Collins

In April 2011, Carter notarized Lee's signature on a document that transferred ownership of her copyright to Samuel L. Pinkus. A year later, Lee regained her copyright after filing a lawsuit claiming Pinkus "engaged in a scheme to dupe" her out of her copyright. Since her sisters death, Carter has become Lee's primary attorney.

10. However, Others Have Claimed Carter Is Trustworthy and Lee Is competent


Carter worked at Alice Lee's law firm and knew the sisters for several years before becoming Harper Lee's lawyer. Diane McWhorter claim "Tonja has the full confidence of Nelle [and] I can say with confidence that Tonja would not do anything that Nelle would not want her to do."

Alas, until Harper Lee comes out of seclusion and tells us herself, we may never if or why she wanted this novel published.

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