Thursday, August 6, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Title: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Genre: Southern fiction

Go Set a Watchman is the recently published sequel to the timeless, Southern classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Jean Louise Finch (Scout) is returning home to Maycomb for a visit. Jean Louise lives the single woman lifestyle in NYC which is viewed with admiration or consternation by the citizens of her hometown. No one is more frustrated with Jean Louise than her Aunt Zandra, the pinnacle of Southern manners and womanhood. Even though Jean Louise is a grown woman, the two are always exchanging verbal insults. Atticus Finch although physically frailer still has a sharp mind.
Jean Louise views Maycomb with a mixture of gratitude, pride, and relief. Gratitude and pride for her upbringing as a Finch and a carefree childhood, yet relief that she doesn't live permanently in Maycomb and succumb to the small town's stifling expectations and unwritten rules.
Her peaceful visit is ruined one muggy Sunday when she discovers that her father and almost-fiancee, Henry Clinton, are participants of the Maycomb Citizens' Council (the Klan). This council, made up of the county's most respectable and influential men, is also a racist organization that is dead set against forced segregation by the government and views the NAACP with disdain. In that moment Jean Louise's world crumbles: her father, the hero, the teacher of all things moral, has been ruined in her eyes...

My Facebook feed and email inbox was flooded with reviews for Go Set a Watchman in mid-July. I purposely did not read any reviews because I did not want my experience reading this book to be influenced by others. I enjoyed the book for the most part- the flashbacks were funny and enjoyable. But once Jean Louise discovers the council the book goes downhill from there. For the last fourth of the book Jean Louise is angry and shows it in very dramatic ways and I felt that Harper Lee let that drag on too long and then apologies were done lickety-split and the book was over. I don't think this will become a classic like To Kill a Mockingbird but it will be debated about for years to come. 

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