Before I begin this review, I want to first recommend that you read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee because although this book is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, it was written before To Kill a Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman helps you cherish and appreciate the development of the characters and the plot in To Kill a Mockingbird, which is an American classic.
Go Set a Watchman is about 26-year-old Jean Louise Finch, AKA “Scout,” visiting her father on her annual two-week visit in Maycomb in the 1950s when racial tensions were brewing. Jean Louise Finch essentially gets a wake-up call when she realizes that the people she thought she knew as a child are not the godlike, perfect beings she thought they were.
I think we can all relate to that wake-up call of “wow my parents have flaws and the world is slow and resistant to change.” I was disappointed, however, with a few aspects of Go Set a Watchman. The style of the writing flows sluggishly, and the characters and plot are lacking the flavor that To Kill a Mockingbird had. Jem, Jean Louise’s brother, has passed away and is no longer in this book was another stunning disappointment.
Another surprise was that large portions of almost every chapter were about Jean Louise’s flashbacks as a child. You would think that because this is a sequel, Harper Lee would have discussed more about Jean Louise’s present experiences in New York compared to Maycomb or her future hopes. We also learn disappointing news about what Atticus really thinks of African Americans in the South.
While the book did not live up to To Kill a Mockingbird, it provided more insight into Jean Louise’s thoughts and feelings as an adult and how she came to develop her values. Go Set a Watchman also had comedic aspects that make it worth the short read.
Have you read Go Set a Watchman? What did you think?