With the recent passing of great American novelist Harper Lee, I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts on her most recently published work: Go Set a Watchman. Harper Lee was massively influential to me, as a young reader (To Kill a Mockingbird rocked my socks in ninth grade) and I am forever grateful for her storytelling.
That said…If you are expecting a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird– well, don’t be.
This book is said to have been Harper Lee’s original debut novel, which she wound up re-working- setting the clock back a couple decades to provide a glimpse of the characters’ former selves- to produce the book which would become a beloved American Classic: To Kill a Mockingbird. So while this is very much set in Maycomb, and while all your favorite characters are accounted for, this is no sequel. I still believe Go Set a Watchman is worth reading, but I also think it’s important to consider these things when doing so. If you want to read more about the publication of this book, I encourage you to read this NY Times article by
Now as far as my enjoyment of the book goes, I actually found myself pleasantly surprised. The language did cause a bit of wincing on my part, but for the most part the book was engaging and entertaining. I think that in order to enjoy this book you must take it for what it is: a piece of race literature written in the 1950’s and set in the antebellum south. Yes, I was appalled by the Klan meeting, but that is exactly what I expect from a book set in this period and place.
I’m happy that I read this book, as I was delighted to be reunited with Jean Louise Finch, who is perhaps my favorite young protagonist of all time (she’s certainly up there in the ever-growing list of favorite female characters). I recommend everyone read this book as it will be a literary conversation piece for years to come.
Genre: Fiction→Adult→Historical Literature
Published: July 14th 2015 by HarperCollins
Page Count: 278