Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, published a new novel today, titled Go Set a Watchman, and it's already mired in controversy—it isn't exactly clear Lee was cool with it being published in the first place, and a few of the passages are lifted verbatim from To Kill A Mockingbird. Oh, and also, Atticus Finch is now apparently a racist. And now, the New York Times reports that in Lee's hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, the local residents aren't exactly throwing a party:
At the Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe, the only bookstore in town, about 200 people showed up. That’s a lot for a sleepy Southern town like this, but the store had expected twice as many. They had even hired a food truck to feed the crowd. The cooks stood idle most of the night.
By Tuesday morning, the town seemed to hold more journalists, volunteers and tourism officials than Harper Lee pilgrims.
Lee's first book has turned Monroeville into a small tourist destination itself, and the town is famous for putting on a staged version of the novel every spring. National Geographic even called the novel "the town's obsession." Here I should tell a joke about how I think "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a garbage book but I left all of those jokes in 8th grade.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.