Review of ‘Go Set A Watchman’ by Harper Lee

I was really desperate to read this book, after having fallen in love with To Kill A Mockingbird, and I have to say I was quite disappointed. I had heard good and bad things about this classic sequel, but I only really managed to see the bad, with a very small amount of good.

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Go Set A Watchman’ by Harper Lee

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 Watchmanperfectly 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.

My Review

Go Set A Watchman is the sequel of To Kill A Mockingbird, the well known classic set in 1950’s Southern America. The manuscript was originally turned down by publishers, then went missing until late 2014, when it was found, and then published due to the success of To Kill A Mockingbird fifty years previous.

The novel follows the story of Scout, now going by her birth name Jean Louise, and her annual fortnight visit home from New York where she now resides. The story was sometimes quite difficult to follow, due to very abrupt changes between present and past tense. The events were very predictable and there really wasn’t much of a story line anyway. The plot was quite slow paced; in my opinion, this was due to the constant flashbacks slowing the present story, or what there was of a present story. Everything seemed very bleak, whereas I think Lee could have just focused on the present story and made a bigger point to what was happening.

As much as the plot was a bit dry, I did enjoy the relationship between Jean Louise and Henry Clinton, as I think that finding her feminine side was an interesting development from the first book. For the most part, the other characters seemed very flat, and Atticus was actually quite racist, as was Henry, but Atticus had changed a lot, which was quite a dramatic difference compared with To Kill A Mockingbird. There wasn’t really much in the story to keep me guessing, it all seemed laid out in front of me as the reader. After saying all of that, I should really pick a part of the book that did stand out as my ‘favourite part to read’, and that would have to be Jean Louise and Henry swimming in the lake at Finch Landing, purely because of the relaxed atmosphere and the only real romance within the book.

I felt that Jean Louise rest her case very well towards the end of the book, and the scene was very slightly tense, only in want of knowing how Atticus would react. Some parts in the story made me laugh, mainly the flashbacks, but nothing drastically happened to spark any major emotions.

To summarise, whilst everyone went out to buy this book and read it due to the major success of its prequel, but most may have made a mistake. The book was very dry, and I would recommend you stuck with the first book instead of reading the sequel.

My Rating: 3 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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