What I’m Reading: Go Set a Watchman

Well you knew I would have to read it.  If To Kill a Mockingbird is one of person’s favorite books it’s only a matter to time before the person has to read the much talked about sequel Go Set a Watchman: A Novel.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they are both Harper Lee books…one written and published years ago-one written even longer ago but published now.

Many have been disappointed in the book…many have enjoyed it.  So where do I sit.  I liked it.

Many people have complained that Atticus the previously sainted father has fallen off his pedestal.  Many think Scout has lost her spunk.  I think life just happened.

I have told this story time and time again to my children.  I vividly remember one day when my third grade teacher came out of the bathroom and I saw her.  I realized that the woman who was teacher also had to go to the bathroom and also used a toilet just like me.  I realized she was a human with human tendencies.

In my opinion….People put Atticus and Scout on pedestals…this book just takes them both off the pedestal and honestly, it made me love them more because by taking them off the pedestal they became human and even flawed, I still like them.

Atticus…was a man of his times.  Perfect no..more informed by most yes.  I think people criticizing the book don’t take time to truly think about history of the time of the book.  I think Atticus’ point was different than some think.  Many are quick to judge and say that Atticus actually was raciest.  I don’t see it that way.  I think Atticus’ point was that the most qualified people should be in positions of responsibility and at that time, in that place, he didn’t feel there was a person of color who had the ability to hold those positions.  Remember over all Atticus was for the letter of the law more than he cared about the color of a person’s skin.

I think Scout finally realized that.  Remember the third grade moment I had with my teacher when I realized she was human….Scout really wasn’t all we thought she was either as she finally realized that at 20 something her father wasn’t the person on the pedestal she previously thought he was….that is all part of juvenile fiction.  The first story is told through the eyes of Scout-a child-and a child’s eyes are not always reliable….now she has the eyes of adult.  She see things differently because one she realized that her father isn’t perfect and two she’s not a child anymore.

Anyway..love it or hate it here’s what Amazon had to say about it, “Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—”Scout”—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one’s own conscience.

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.”

I really liked it. Was it as good as the original .. No.  What book is?  It was still well worth my time to read it.  Amazon readers say 3.5 stars.  I think that’s sad…I for sure like the first book better but this is still a 4.4 star book.

If you haven’t read it yet…go into it with an open mind.  You might like it too.

1 thought on “What I’m Reading: Go Set a Watchman

  1. Caryn

    I agree with you, Jo. I liked the book and it did make both of them more human. People who didn’t like the book are looking at it through today’s standards and not what was going on at that time.

    If you take in mind what was going on at that time, it actually was interesting to see Scout’s “northern” view (i.e. having lived in New York and then returning) of what was going on vs. the view from the “inside” (i.e. Atticus’ view).

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