Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Go Set A Watchman

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird, #2)Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, that was incredible.

First off, the Atticus here looks very different from the one we all know in To Kill a Mockingbird. He's extremely racist. He's a little annoying oh wait, he was in the first book as well. And yet, he's still very much the same. I don't know how much editing, if any, that Harper Lee did in the past year, but still, this book was written first. This is the real Atticus. Many readers feel as betrayed as Scout is when they find out what he really thinks, but something Uncle Jack said at the end fits perfectly: Scout (and everyone else) needed to stop making him God. Atticus is only human. He's makes mistakes, goshdarnit, but what can you expect? He's not perfect.

There's other shocking differences from TKAM as well. Calpurnia, Jem (OH MY GOSH I WAS SO SAD), Scout's horrific teen years, and Henry/Hank, whoever the heck he is. Frankly, I didn't remember him at all, and I'm pretty sure I read TKAM last year or something. Still, he's darling. At least in the beginning.

Scout, or Jean Louise as she's more often called, is back in town for two weeks when the book takes place. She's a firecracker! I wish she had held to her beliefs a little more strongly, but again, all of the characters are very, very human.

Go Set a Watchman had similar problems to TKAM, but fortunately pulled through better. It's not nearly as boring, even though barely anything happens. Scout's desperate/sarcastic narration glued me to the book. All in all, I'm so glad I read this anyway even though I didn't like the first book. Go Set a Watchman gave me a lot to think about.
[Scout's] voice was heavy with sarcasm: "We've agreed that they're backword, that the're illiterate, that they're dirty and comical and shiftless and no good, they're infants and they're stupid, some of them, but we haven't agreed on one thing and we never will. You deny that they're human."

"How so?" [Atticus said].

"You deny them hope. Any man in this world, Atticus, any man who has a head and arms and legs, was born with hope in his heart. You won't find that in the Constitution, I picked that up in church somewhere. They are simple people, most of them, but that doesn't make them subhuman.

"You are telling them Jesus loves them, but not much. You are using frightful means to justify ends that you think are for the good of the most people. Your ends may well be right--I think I believe in the same ends--but you cannot use people as your pawns, Atticus. You cannot.

So many messed up morals--sexism, racism, to name a few--but still worth the read.

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Grading:
Language: D
Sexual Content: A or B
Violence: A?

5 comments:

  1. Oooo... I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the review:)

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    1. It was so good! One of my favorite classics.

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  2. Thanks for the heads-up! I doubt I'm gonna read this one, because the first was one of my favorite books ever and I wouldn't like my view of Atticus sullied, since he's one of my top favorite literary characters.

    Apparently, what happened was that Harper Lee wrote this one first and never published it. TKAM was supposed to be a prequel, but she wound up publishing that one-- why? Because she changed Atticus's character. In GSAW, she intended for Atticus to just be a character from her imagination, a racist white southerner. Later, when she wrote TKAM, something happened. She started engendering her father's character into Atticus until he actually BECAME her father, a tolerant, loving white man and a hero who doesn't let skin color get in the way. Which is why the Atticus in TKAM and the Atticus in GSAW are two entirely different people, and why I'm not going to read the second book. What we got here in GSAW just isn't the real Atticus.

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    1. Good point! Did Harper Lee say that in an interview? I have a feeling GSAW is going to be much less popular than TKAM, but I personally loved it. Scout is much more relatable as an adult than when she's six.

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    2. Well, the source being my mother who is the biggest Harper Lee fan ever and has been following the case like a hound dog. xD I think it sounds like a GREAT book, if it was just about a completely different Scout and Atticus.

      My favorite character in the first book, aside from Atticus, was probably Dill. He just kind of sounded like the infant voice of reason to me, if that makes sense. :)

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