Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee ~ Impeccable Reviews

Series: To Kill A Mockingbird #2
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 278

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. 

My Review

I wouldn't really call Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee a sequel because it didn't feel like a continuation of To Kill A Mockingbird. You could easily read this book before the latter without feeling uninformed (even though I would strongly advise against doing so). This book felt like more of an add on or companion novel than anything else. After finishing the first book To Kill A Mockingbird, I quickly added it to my list of all time favorite books and I was SUPER excited for this book to come out. I had the book in my hands the day it came out and I am glad I found the time to read it.

This book follows the same character as To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout, but she is refered to as Jean Louise. In this review I am going to continue calling her Scout because I like that name for her better. She is 26 years old now and she has come back to Maycomb from college to visit. Atticus has grown old with health problems, Jem is dead, Aunt Alexandra is as annoying as ever, and Scout has a new suitor named Henry. Slowly she begins to see that Maycomb and the people in it are not the same as she had always imagined them to be. This book deals with a lot of racism and politics and it is very interesting to see how something written so long ago can have many parallels to our current society.

I did not know what to expect from this book going in, but at first it made me a little depressed. Well...more like very depressed. It felt as if all the characters I loved from the first book had disappeared or changed. Scout goes through this same revelation and it is as if I was going through it with her. HER BROTHER JEM IS DEAD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (Don't worry this is not a spoiler. You find this out within 30 pages or less of the book and it really has nothing to do with the plot) I seriously almost cried because I really liked Jem from the first book. Dill was not present because he was off living outside of Maycomb and Atticus was not his normal self for 99% of the book.

Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird has to be one of my favorite characters in classic literature because he was a very wise, honest, respectable human being, and the world would be much better if we had more Atticuses (Lol whatever the plural of Atticus is) walking around. The problem in Go Set A Watchman was that Atticus has changed and he is no longer the perfect good Atticus from the first book. It's kind of sad to read about. For a while I tried to deny it, but it's quite obvious. Then to top it all off, Calpurnia who was Scout's old house maid and basically her mother figure acted so coldly towards Scout. So all I was left with was Aunt Alexandra who I already disliked from To Kill A Mockingbird and Henry who was a respectable character, but new to me. Oh and I guess there was also her Uncle, but he is downright crazy. To be totally honest, this book really tainted my perception of every character except for Scout.

The plot in this book is slower than most. Throughout the whole book I did not know where the plot was going. For a while, it felt as if it was going no where. Things kept on getting worse and worse and everybody seemed to be turning there backs on Scout, but all these events end up playing out this way for a reason which you will find by the end of the book. I really enjoy how Harper Lee incorporates her book titles into her novels and uses them as a type of symbolism. One thing I value a lot in books is when I am able to take away a message or some knowledge from them and there's definitely a message I learned from this book. I cannot say I enjoyed this book all the way through, but I was satisified by the end and how things resolved themselves. Go Set A Watchman does not compare to To Kill A Mockingbird in any way, shape or form, so I think it is unfair to judge one based on the other. Go Set A Watchman is a separate book in itself and has its own good qualities to it. I believe anyone who enjoyed the first book will benefit from at least giving this book a try.

My Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars
It was really hard to try and figure out a rating for this book. I even debated not rating it at all, but I finally decided to give it a 3.5. Though I had some issues with the book, I still could really appreciate it.


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