Title: Go Set A Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Series: To Kill A Mockingbird
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction
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.
Had she insight, could she have pierced the barriers of her highly selective, insular world, she may have discovered that all her life she had been with a visual defect which had gone unnoticed and neglected by herself and by those closest to her: she was born color blind.
The beginning of the novel gave me a nice, but different, change of pace than that from To Kill A Mockingbird which I re-read right before this. I really enjoyed the different perspectives all at the beginning that Lee provides the reader after being so far away from these characters for such a long period of time. However, the novel does leave you with some questions on a few things, especially with the ending (No spoilers, I promise!). I enjoyed how some people who did not read TKM would not need to read it as this novel is pretty separate and different from TKM in a lot of ways.
I really enjoyed the feeling of being in the time period with Lee’s prose and writing throughout this novel. I even pictured the voice of the narrator of ‘The Help’ narrating the novel with a southern accent which really allowed me to feel the time period and culture to life with the writing.
I also enjoyed how Lee really kept up with the characters. I don’t want to give anything away, but I enjoyed Scout’s progression from her being a teenage girl to an adult which I felt made her more relate-able to myself.
Overall, Go Set A Watchman really brings us back to the days of segregation and the fight for equal rights. While reading this novel, it was perfect timing with the US’ equal marriage laws that came into affect, something that Canadian’s have had for 10 years. The novel really reminds us of past struggles and sheds light on how to keep making changes for forward thinking in the years and challenges to come. I really enjoy reading novels that bring us back to let us learn from challenges and obstacles overcome to really see how society has grown, or hasn’t grown, and learn ways to better ourselves as human beings.
The ending left me just ‘meh’. I wanted a bit more, but also understood why the ending left the reader the way it did. I enjoyed how Lee developed the characters towards the end, but it still leaves the readers questioning as to what the future holds for the characters. Who knows, maybe this means another book soon from Lee? Doubtful, but one can hope.
Rating: 4/5. I struggled to get into this novel, as it seems to be for quite a few novels for myself as of late. I feel as though the ‘hook’ doesn’t grab your attention until later on in novels lately. I would recommend picking up this book, as I feel as though it develops on Lee’s classification as a ‘classic’ as a writer.
What did you think of this installment to To Kill A Mockingbird? I want to hear your thoughts! Or if it’s still sitting on your TBR list!
Please note all opinions are my own.