Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

by Andrew Haimovici

When purchasing this book, I was expecting to read a sequel to the famous To Kill a Mockingbird. This, however is not what the book is, so if you are looking for a continuation of To Kill a Mockingbird, I do not recommend this book because Go Set a Watchman will not fill such a desire.

This book is quite different than To Kill a Mockingbird because Atticus Finch, the lawyer who defends a Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl, is a white supremacist. In To Kill a Mockingbird he is the book’s moral conscience and is one of Maycomb’s only non-racist people, but in Go Set a Watchman, he is on the board of the Citizen’s council, an organization that defends segregation and sinks to the level of the KKK. Ironically, in Go Set a Watchman, Jean Louise, Atticus’ daughter is the one fighting for equality, the very principles with which her father raised her.

Overall this book seems a bit like an unfinished draft, which is what it really is. There are details left relatively unexplained, and subtle, underdeveloped symbolism that could have added a lot to the work if it was brought out more. The plot of this book also seems a little underdeveloped, which makes the book less entrenching. Not all is negative though, there are some really cool moments when Harper Lee describes different scenarios in the perfect way. It is also interesting to see what To Kill a Mockingbird was originally supposed to be like because after all, this is an earlier draft of it. I would recommend the book to someone looking to learn more about what makes fiction good versus bad because there are moments of both in Go Set a Watchman and they are easy to discern.

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