Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3 Stars - Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Publisher: HarperCollins
Buy: AMZ

About the Book

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

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.

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.


I liked To Kill a Mockingbird. It was one of the few required reads in school I enjoyed, and one I read more than once. When I first found out about Go Set A Watchman I was all

and I pre-ordered at first opportunity. Then we all learned about the actual story, then

and then came the thinkpieces. I didn't read any before going into this, and I didn't read reviews despite having the NYT and others spoil certain parts. I wanted to see for myself, and to be honest the book was...okay. It didn't blow my mind, but it didn't infuriate me. It's basically the story of a young woman who comes home for a visit to realize the pedestal on which she viewed her father isn't as high as she once thought. How her family treats her after she confronts them on their prejudices, though, left me rankled.

I thought the strongest parts of the story were the flashbacks with Jem, and I imagine her editor initially thought so, too, and encouraged the story that became TKAM.

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