Go Set A Watchman- Review

Saturday I read an entire book in one sitting. I’ve never done that before but I wanted to read it. Grand Master D has to read it for school so I also wanted to get finished so he could have it.

I’ve been following the controversy of the release of Go Set A Watchman and the idea that perhaps Harper Lee was bullied, coerced or worse into it’s publication. But I was also curious.


I read some articles about the content of the book and how Atticus was NOT the same man as depicted in Mockingbird and that he was racist and a bigot. These are interesting times we live in, with the resurgence of racial tensions, this book has a place in the discussion, just as Mockingbird did back in the 60’s when the country was looking at how to shift the paradigm and bring equality to an entire race of people oppressed for generations.

The book switches between 26 yo Jean Louise who is visiting her family in Maycomb after being away in New York for years and discovering her attitudes have changed and her small town has a side she doesn’t like, and memories of her childhood spent at the knee of Atticus learning the ways of the world from him and living wild and free in a small southern town.

Whether Harper wrote it as a prequel to Mockingbird, or a first draft and changed it into the book we’ve all come to see as a modern classic or not, it’s a thought provoking read and one worthy of praise.

Whether it was her wish to publish it or not, the truth is, this book reflects very eloquently the troubles occurring in the south today. The true feelings of many and the struggle with what is right and how they feel.

While I felt some guilt after reading the articles and feeling that I was betraying Harper for buying and reading it, I’ve come to see, after reflecting on it, that this book, while not the same as Mockingbird, certainly gives the reader something to think about and captures human nature well.

It in no way diminishes my views on Mockingbird. It reads as a stand alone book and therefore offers a new generation a perspective of life and truth and human nature which spans generations and in no small part helps to explain why  good people can still have bad thoughts .

I highly recommend the read and hope that Harper Lee benefits from her talent and amazing insight into life and small town southern prejudices.

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Comments 2

  1. I was reading more about the controversy last night, and I think that while it would be deplorable and opportunistic at best of Harper Collins if they indeed published this solely as a money grab, the fact is, now it’s out there, and it deserves to be judged by its own merit, be it a library contrast to Mockingbird or not.

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