I just finished Go Set a Watchman and I wish I had someone to talk to about it! I’m a little fired up. I sped-read it to the end last night.
Now, first of all, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this book myself, but it was a present from my dad. I am a huge fan of To Kill a Mocking Bird. But I had read some disheartening reports about how Watchman was never meant to be published and someone had taken advantage of Harper Lee in her old age in order to make money. Watchman was apparently written before Mockingbird, and was rewritten at the suggestion of the editor and become Mockingbird. And, the biggest shock and disappointment revealed by Watchman: Atticus was racist. So you can see why I hesitated.
But I’m the type of person who likes to come to my own conclusion. I wasn’t going to make a judgment until I’d read the book. Plus, I really like the cover art.
The book takes place in the 1960s, in the south. Our beloved Scout is an adult now and visits her home town from New York City. The unrest of the Civil Rights movement is rising and she is confronted by some unpleasant attitudes toward blacks.
There are some rich, descriptive flashbacks to her childhood, robust character development and the creative and insightful writing style that Harper Lee is known for. I wish she had written more books during her life. I felt a connection to her or maybe to Jean Louise and enjoyed spending time with her.
Is it a good book? I don’t know. If you don’t compare it to Mockingbird? Maybe. I’m glad I read it. In the end I learned a great lesson. A lesson about myself and my convictions and confronting things that are unpleasant. With the political climate right now and the ideologies I encounter living where I do, it couldn’t have come at a better time.