Harper Lee’s long-awaited novel, Go Set a Watchman — the previously unpublished companion to the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird — is being released today. It’s been revealed that the novel updates the beloved Atticus Finch to be a racist who attends a Ku Klux Klan meeting and asks his daughter, Scout, “Do you want negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters?” The description of Atticus Finch in this new novel has been called “disturbing” and “disorienting” by critics and has shocked readers, some of whom have sworn off the book.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that a classic of American literature has been ruined by its sequel.
The Consultant in the Rye
The sequel to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye takes place a few years after the first book as Holden Caulfield graduates from college and enters the adult world. No longer idealistic and rebellious, he becomes a “phony” who gets a boring and soul-crushing desk job, just like the rest of us.
In Henry David Thoreau’s follow-up to his seminal meditation on life and inner peace, Walden, Thoreau discovers an iPhone and forswears simple living in natural surroundings in order to spend his days obsessively Instagramming his surroundings. Naturally, he’s fond of the “Walden” filter.
In the continuation to Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, the titular horse spends his final days struggling to stay out of the glue factory. He fails and becomes part of a kindergartener’s pasta art activity.
Tuesdays with Kim
In this sequel to his memoir Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom recounts the life lessons he learns when he spends 14 of his Tuesdays with Kim Kardashian. The resulting book is a bunch of blank pages.
Bret Easton Ellis never published his sequel to American Psycho because it reveals that Patrick Bateman is actually a super nice guy who wasn’t doing all that weird sex and drugs and killing, but just had a very bad dream. Bateman spends this follow-up novel dissecting his dream with his therapist.
Goodnight Moon. FOREVER!
In the follow-up to Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, the rabbit knitting by the fireplace lets the fire get out of control and everyone — rabbits, kittens, mouse — dies. Everything burns down in the great green room. There’s no more telephone or red balloon. All that’s left is the charred remains of a picture of a cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight to the bowl full of mush … forever.
The Even-Newer Testament
Spoiler alert! Readers are sure to be disappointed when they read the continuation of The Bible, where author God reveals that there actually isn’t an afterlife after all. Whoopsies!
Go Set A Watchman: Part Two
In Harper Lee’s other secret novel, Scout Finch grows up and is revealed to be Sarah Palin.