Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Description (from cover):

'A historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch--Scout--struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.'

My thoughts:

** Do not read this review if you have not previously read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' as my review contains spoilers**

To Kill a Mockingbird has to simply be one of my favorite books of all time. I read this book when I was in high school and I remember it having such an impact. The words flow on the page with such eloquence and ease that it was simply one of my favorites and still is. This book made the literary world gasp when news broke last year that this manuscript had been lost but was now found. Harper Lee won prestigious awards for To Kill a Mockingbird and everyone simply could not wait to get their hands on this newest book. Would it be considered a masterpiece like the previous book or would it pale in comparison? Everyone was dying to know. It was a rare treat for me when this newest book was released on my birthday. Did I love it or did I this book fall to the wayside of its predecessor?
I hate to say it, but I wasn't all that impressed with this book. It started off good and then all of a sudden at the end, it goes on a tirade about race relations and who knows what else. It really didn't have a conclusive ending and well it was just dim compared to the gem that To Kill a Mockingbird is. It is my understanding that Lee wrote this book prior to To Kill a Mockingbird and well there were some inconsistencies in this book that drove me nuts. In this book it states that Tom Robinson was acquitted of the rape charge, and well we all know that is not what actually happened. I would think that the publishers and editors would have caught that and changed it a little bit to actually reflect what happened, but I assumed wrong. It is next to impossible to review this book without comparing it to To Kill a Mockingbird. I think that is why this book is getting negative reviews because it cannot live up to the excellence of its predecessor. 

In this book Scout is twenty-six-years old and has returned to Maycomb to visit her ailing father, the prominent Atticus Finch. With race relations and tensions building in the South, Scout learns to question her upbringing and how it affects her in the present. She learns things about Atticus that changes how she sees him and it rocks her world. I do not understand how the author can create such a character in one book and in the next create the same character but with a completely different moral compass. It was confusing to read and tainted the character of Atticus Finch irreparably. I am simply going to pretend that this book doesn't exist and doesn't change one of my favorite books of all times. I am simply disappointed in this novel in ways I can't even describe.

Overall Rating: 2

Title:  Go Set a Watchman
Author:  Harper Lee
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Harper
Publication Date:  July 14, 2015
Pages:  288
Genre:  Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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