BOOK REVIEW: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee


Title: Go Set A Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Publication: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Harper Perennial Classics
Genre: Classic Literature
Pages: 288


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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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 MockingbirdGo 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 remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird when I think I was in 8th grade for English Lit then I am pretty sure I reread it in high school for required reading for English Lit again.  I know that I loved the book so much that I honestly didn’t mind reading it again.  I have also purchased a copy for my kids to read when they come of age because I think it is such an important book to read. So when I was shopping with my bestie this summer I found a copy of the sequel that she recently wrote I snatched it up with two hands. I was even more excited when I found it on sale on Audible and even better it was narrated by Reese Witherspoon.

Jean Louise is coming home.  Not permanently she hopes but just for a visit.  She has since moved to NYC to what I think is to escape her small hometown. She has come home to visit her aging father as he tries to hide his illness from her.  While she is home her long-time sweetheart tries to get him to marry her. She almost agrees to marry him until she finds out some things about him and her father that has her packing her bags and attempting to leave.  I loved listening to this book.  I loved the way Reese Witherspoon read it.  The voices that she did and her having that southern accent helped it even more.  I think that that is honestly the best decision they made for a narration. 

I, however, was really actually annoyed about 90% of the time with Jean. It bothered me so much with her storyline that it honestly is what had me give the book only 3 stars.  She didn’t want to be called Scout anymore.  She had grown past that. She was always put out by something that happened at home or out and about in the town.  I thought that the ending was something that actually had me on the edge of my seat.  I thought that the way the author wrote it was quite good.  Jean finds some things out about her father and her sweetheart that has her getting pretty angry.  The author actually wrote this book in the 1950s and it only got published for the first time in 2015.  I thought that the eccentric uncle needed a lot more of a storyline, especially with how he was actually tied into the end of the book.  I don’t think he was ever mentioned in the first book.  Be that as it may, I can’t wait for my children to read To Kill a Mockingbird and watch the movie and hopefully, I can get them to read this book as well.  It nicely rounds out the ending to the whole story arc from the two books.   

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