Go Set a Watchman

“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.”
― Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee published in 2015. After 55 years we now have a sequel to famous To Kill a Mockingbird. I read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird first time in 8th grade and I loved it, it was warm, deep and humorous even if it dealt with serious issues like rape and racial injustice. Writing was beautiful and Lee’s thoughts in that novel “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” & “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” can speak for themselves.

Go Set a Watchman left me confused. I finished reading it only few days after Lee had passed and I somehow had very high hopes for it. In general, I enjoyed the story and I was happy to read again about Maycomb and all the characters: Jean Louise, Atticus, Jem, Calpurnia… again. However, Go Set a Watchman seemed more like a draft of a novel than actual novel. And I think that was what I didn’t like. Everyone had told me it was a “sequel” and how great it was and there was all this hype around it. And true, writing was amazing and there were many great lines I have quoted here in this post, yet it was just a draft! There was NO depth I wanted there to be.

“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”
― Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

The fact that Lee wrote this before she wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and how it is just a draft of it explains a lot. Also, in my opinion, it shows how much she developed as writer and how much, how work she put into writing, or let’s say editing ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

“A man can condemn his enemies, but it’s wiser to know them.”
― Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

I  MISSED LEE’S WRITING SO MUCH and her great mind too. That might sound weird but with books, I think we always get into authors’ heads. However, this just isn’t a sequel (well…except plotwise & characterwise maybe) and it’s in no way a finished !! or ready novel and I don’t know why they ever published something like this claiming it was. I think, if publishers would have marketed this as a companion book or some kind of a “bonus material”, it wouldn’t have disappointed so many readers or have received so many negative reviews. 3/5 stars

Tips

  1. Naturally, you MUST read To Kill a Mockingbird first if you haven’t already, because this won’t make any sense to you + if it’s been a long time, you should have a glimpse at To Kill a Mockingbird to remember what happened.
    2. Don’t expect a sequel! Or finished novel! Expect a draft-ling that will make you love To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee even more. Seriously I wonder if publishers and marketers had read these books or did they just think of the money they’ll make.
    3. Every single Harper Lee fan should read this! Why? See tip #2.
    4. If you have a possibility and you’re English is good enough, read it in language it was written. This Alabama dialect makes it more authentic in both of novels.
    5. It’s not too long, about 300 pages. It might be difficult to get started but it quickly sucks you in.

“If you did not want much, there was plenty.”
― Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman

Have you read Go Set a Watchman? What did you think of it?

                                               Buy Go Set a Watchman: A Novel on Amazon

11 thoughts on “Go Set a Watchman

  1. Lindsay | Bookboodle says:

    I was ridiculously excited about this book as I’m a huge fan of TKAM but I didn’t really like it. I bought it on publication day but didn’t read it for months because of the things I’d heard and I suppose I was waiting for the hype to die down so I could go into it with a fresh head. I didn’t there was much of a plot and I wasn’t a fan of how Atticus was now portrayed.
    Here are my thoughts >> http://wp.me/p36K8M-2vH

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anastasia says:

      I know how you feel. I was very excited too and for months I was trying to avoid reviews of other bloggers and news about this novel in general (of course that doesn’t always work out), then I finally read it last month and I was like what happened, where’s the Harper Lee I know. I see you also have 3 stars, I was tempted to give two stars but… it was Lee after all and book was just a draft, not sequel so it deserves 3.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Katy Goodwin-Bates says:

    I read this as soon as it came out but my attitude since has pretty much been to pretend I didn’t. Obviously the change in Atticus is upsetting, but I also hated how all the men treat Scout. There’s so much mansplaining and that bit when Uncle Jack just whacks her round the face was very unpleasant. When people who love TKAM have asked if I think they should read this, I’ve said no, because I think it runs the risk of spoiling the original. Also, Jem: what the hell?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anastasia says:

      I have thought about it and maybe it would have been for the better if this hadn’t been published. Then again, in some ways I was happy to read it even if it wasn’t what I had expected. I don’t think it spoils the original if you think of it as a draft or as journey Lee made to get to TKAMB. If you think of it as sequel or another masterpiece then yes.
      Whole situation is just confusing :o

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bookheathen says:

    I was looking forward to and enjoyed reading your review. Opinions are so divided on this novel. You are so right to suggest that so much depends on the fact that this one, and not TKAMB, was Lee’s first effort at a novel. That said, I stand by my opinion that had she followed the path taken by many authors – to edit and improve rather than completely rewrite the story, it might well have become as great or even greater than the one on which her reputation is built. Because she cast it aside in favour of the publisher’s suggestion, we shall never know, and I for one regret that very much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Anastasia says:

      Exactly, I very much hope that one day this will be re-published saying it’s just a draft or unfinished work, then people wouldn’t be so mad. I agree with that, though I also think if Lee herself wasn’t happy with her original story, it’s good that she did re-write the story. I wonder a lot what happened with this work, it’s somehow hard to believe that any author would allow to publish something like this.

      Like

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