Monday, August 31, 2015

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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Publication date: 2015
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 278
My rating: 3 stars
Ages: 18+

No longer the young Scout, Jean Louise Finch is returning home to Maycombe, Alabama, for her annual trip to see her father, Atticus. Everything is going as normal, with Hank courting her and her relatives driving her crazy. But Jean Louise starts noticing how things have changed in Maycombe--or maybe it's New York that has changed her.

I tried to keep myself away from other reviews of this book, but it's a little hard when people have been waiting for over 60 years for another book by Lee. However, that did mean that I was expecting some of it.

I tried to keep in mind that this book was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, in fact, that it was because of this book that Mockingbird was written. At least, that's what I understand from the news stories that came out when this book was "discovered" by Lee. So, with that in mind, here is what I have to say:

Mockingbird is the far superior book. It is more polished and focused. Watchman goes from the past to the present with little warning, and at times seems to be more stream of conscious. That said, it was an interesting story. It seemed so far distanced from Mockingbird that the characters almost seemed like different people to me, which is why I don't think I was as shocked as the early reviewers were. Or perhaps it was because of the early reviews that I wasn't shocked.

There were times when I got lost in the narrative, but not in a good way. I was mentally lost--I didn't understand things they were referencing or things were just going over my head. Maybe I was a distracted reader, or tired, or maybe I just really didn't understand. I think that the main point of the story was an interesting point to make and worthwhile to think about.

There is some language, including the "n-word," which is a product of the time it was written and the themes.

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