Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman


*Sigh* I wish I had better things to say about this book. I rated it 2/5*.

I want to begin my review by stating that To Kill a Mockingbird is a beautiful, beautiful work; in fact it's one of my all-time favourites. For those who don't know, Go Set a Watchman is essentially the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird... however it was actually written first.

From what I have gathered, Harper Lee wrote a first draft of Go Set a Watchman, presented it to publishers, and was told that they were far more interested in the antics of Scout's childhood than her later years. Lee was advised to go away and create a story based around a younger Jean Louise & Co. instead, which she did, and To Kill a Mockingbird was born. Go Set a Watchman remained unedited, and unpublished. 

I'm going to try and keep this fairly brief; If you cherish To Kill a Mockingbird, seriously consider whether or not you want to read this novel. 

It is set when Scout is in her mid-twenties, and has come home from New York to visit her aging father; childhood hero Atticus Finch. There is much debate about whether Atticus is portrayed as a racist or not in this book; personally I think Lee deliberately left Atticus' real feelings quite ambiguous. Infuriatingly, he doesn't really argue his point... but regardless, large portions of the book made for uncomfortable reading and I found myself losing respect for once-loved characters.

Scout is childish and hurtful to the man who loves her, Henry, but he himself doesn't behave much better. Incidentally, her love interest is supposedly one of her best childhood friends... and yet I don't remember him from To Kill a Mockingbird at all? You would have thought that if he was so important in Go Set a Watchman, Lee would have written him into To Kill a Mockingbird... but apparently not! Additionally, her uncle actually punches her in the face, twice, at one point and no one bats an eyelid. Overall, as the publishers originally told Lee; the most enjoyable parts were the flashbacks to Scout's childhood.

Technically, the novel obviously isn't sound as it is an unedited draft; there's a lot of sudden first/third person tense change and some glaring spelling/grammatical errors. I was expecting it, but it still irked me whilst reading it.

Honestly, in summary, I wish I hadn't read it. I have also heard rumour that Harper Lee may not have even given explicit consent for the book to be published, so I feel even more uneasy about the whole thing. If I had the chance to un-read it, I would! 

Hopefully I will have a far more positive review up for you soon,

2 comments:

  1. I love TKAM but I don't think I would even buy into this purely due to all the speculation surrounding the consent of this book.
    Jodie xo // Jodie Loue

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I know what you mean, I wish I had researched it beforehand. x

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