July 21, 2015

Review: Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee


Title: Go Set A Watchman

Author: Harper Lee

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date of Publication: July 14, 2015

Number of Pages: 278

Summary

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 a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past - a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.

Review

Should I even try to explain to you how hyped I was for this novel? Ever since I've heard that it would be published I couldn't really wait to get it on my hands and read it. Although I dreaded the possibility of being disappointed. But the urge to find out what happened to all those beloved characters was so strong and so I've finally got a copy and read it. And I wasn't disappointed, despite my high expectations!

Jean Louise returns to Maycomb, only to find it different from before. The faces of the people are the same, but she observes different attitudes. Even the town itself is changing, with new buildings. Go away the old buildings said. There is no place for you here. You are not wanted. We have secrets. Now this is a feeling a little familiar to me and everyone who happens to live away from their hometown. When you return you always observe the differences and you get lost in nostalgia and childhood memories.

But Go Set A Watchman isn't only about Scout's nostalgia. It's her journey towards the discovery of her own mind, her own conscience. And this is the reason why eventually I didn't mind the portrayal of Atticus in this novel. Yes, he is definitely racist, but he still believes that everybody should be treated by the law the same way, These views are the ones that passed down to Jean Louise and these views are what Jean Louise's generation will establish in the south at some point. I won't lie that he was the Atticus that I'd love to see, but he was definitely the Atticus the novel needed.

Another interesting character in Go Set A Watchman is Dr. Jack Finch, the younger brother of Atticus. He is the one that tries to make Scout understand what is going on, but his way of explaining helps her come to her own conclusions. His part in the story is crucial. One thing that I didn't like about this novel is the small part in the story of characters like Jem, Calpurnia, and Dill. I'd like to see more of them and find out what happened to them all those years.

It would be unfair to compare Go Set A Watchman with To Kill A Mockingbird. Keep in mind that the first one is a manuscript, not a fully edited novel like the latter. But I found it more mature, maybe because we witnessed the story through the eyes of an adult protagonist and not a child. I like to think of both of those books as a part of a single work, which in fact, were created as one.

Well, all in all, while reading this novel I had some pretty intense feelings. I was even crying in the end. The last three chapters are really powerful. I highly recommend Go Set A Watchman to all those who loved To Kill A Mockingbird. You will discover other sides of these beloved characters.

So, my advice is...

I need a watchman to lead me around and declare what he seeth every hour on the hour.     


16 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great review, I'm afraid to be disappointed as well, but it looks like that doesn't have to be the case. Thanks for letting me know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad that you liked my review, the novel was great and I highly recommend it :)

      Delete
  2. Aww I just love when high expectations aren't disappointed, this book seems well worth the read! I'm curious, do you ever wait to read books after watching movie adaptations first, or always do it the other way around?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's a great feeling :)

      Well, it depends. Normally I try to watch the films after I've read the books, but in some cases I didn't know beforehand that the film was based on a novel. I have to admit, that spoilers don't influence so I still enjoy the book although I might now the plot. :)

      Delete
  3. To be honest this book just seems like a fairly cynical cash grab to me so I don't really want to buy it. I do appreciate that you enjoyed it and that it was more mature, in a way, but I definitely get the feeling that it was something that was never really supposed to be published.

    That being said I'll definitely try it out if it pops up in the library, I am relatively interested in it, I just don't want to spend money on it. Great review by the way, I'm glad you enjoyed it at least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should give it try. I was also hesitant at first, but I'm glad that I did read it. Of course, you should always keep in mind that it's not a fully edited novel. Still I like the direction it takes. :)

      Delete
  4. I don't know anything about this book but your review made it sound well. I'm checking this out. :) Good to know that your expectations for this were met, and you weren't disappointed!

    Awesome review, Aeriko! xx

    Fiona of A Girl Between the Pages

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Fiona! I never thought that I would actually read another Harper Lee novel and I was happy with this publication :)

      Delete
  5. Wowwww you read it already!! Awesome review!!
    Aditi @Book Stop Corner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't really wait much longer :D

      Delete
  6. Incredible review. Sounds like it's a good sequel to TKAM, which I actually studied in school so I'm very attached to it! I have to read this one now, although I'm pretty heartbroken to hear about Atticus </3

    http://scienceofadornment.blogspot.ie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was also my reaction when I heard about Atticus and I really didn't know how I would react. But as I explained it didn't bother me as much as I originally explained.

      I wish I had studied To Kill A Mockingbird in school too.

      Delete
  7. I loved TKAMB and so I was horrified to read this one. Then when I heard everybody talking about Atticus was racist...I just didn't know if I'd be able to read this one.

    Your review gives me hope. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I learnt about Atticus I wasn't really sure about my reaction. But I had to find out with my own eyes, so I immediately decided to read it! :)

      Delete
  8. I cried at the end too! Probably the most emotional book I've ever read. I mean, the one that made me the most emotional. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that you felt the same way! It was a pretty intense ending :)

      Delete

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I value comments a lot. So if you have anything to say feel free to express yourselves on the comments below! I try to respond to all of your comments and if you leave a link to your blog I will visit it :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...