Friday, July 24, 2015

Go Set A Watchman - A Book Review

Not that we need any more said about this, but I thought I'd finish what I started here.

I read the first chapter that went around the internet a few days before I received my copy. That prepared me for the fact that it was  not going to be what I wanted it to be. That being said, I liked it.

Harper Lee has the 1960s rural south pegged impeccably.  If you are from the south and lived during that time, you feel at home. You can identify with a twenty-something young woman on a visit home, wanting everything to be the same, and the painful discovery that it is most certainly not.

Jean Louise suffers the coming of age reality that her father is not the ideal man she thought he was. Her world is rocked to the core that her father and boyfriend are segregationists. She nearly severs her relationship with her father permanently, but love wins in the end.

The book is written in third person omniscient, but the popping out of Jean Louis' head is a bit distracting.

Go Set A Watchman is essentially the first draft of what later became To Kill A Mockingbird, but is a good read as a stand alone novel.  This is a good thing since it doesn't have much to do with To Kill A Mockingbird except for the characters and setting. The Tom Robinson trial is mentioned only once, and not consistent with the plot in To Kill a Mockingbird. There is no mention of Boo Radley at all. I would have liked for our beloved Jem to have died for some noble cause, rather than to have unceremoniously dropped dead from a heart attack before the book ever begins.

Anticipation for this new (old) book made my expectations high, and I've gotten over the disappointment that it wasn't what I wanted. I'm still glad I read it, and feel that I've been part of something historic, if not satisfying. I'm still grateful to Harper Lee for the influence To Kill A Mockingbird had on me as a young reader inspired to write. I hope she has accomplished what she wanted with this, and I wish her well.

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