Overview (No Spoilers):
My sister-in-law was beyond excited when Go Set a Watchman was released because To Kill a Mockingbird was one of her favorite books. However, I had rather less fond memories of To Kill a Mockingbird and therefore dragged my feet about starting the book. In all reality, I should probably reread the aforementioned classic, as I have most of the required reading materials of my youth, but have yet to put it back on my reading list. Another hesitation lies in the fact that I was skeptical that Lee would be able to adequately deliver a sequel worthy of its predecessor. I was greatly mistaken. Go Set a Watchman is everything and more that the long awaited sequel of a classic should be. The story picks up with Scout having grown into a feisty, independent woman, living in New York City. However, upon returning home for her yearly visit she is perturbed to see her hometown is changing without her. Most disturbing to Jean Louise, i.e., Scout, are the racial tensions which permeate throughout Maycomb, even impacting the attitudes of her family and beloved father. Jean Louise spends a lot of the book alternating between soul searching and flying into an out of control rage. Lee does an excellent job capturing the conflicting emotions and political turmoil experienced in the traditional south during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. The narration of the audiobook was delightfully done by Reese Witherspoon, who was able to capture the essence of Scout, but the musical interludes between sections were rather annoying. I would have given the book a perfect rating, however the long lectures (Atticus or Uncle Jack) or tirades (by Scout) toward the end of the book became a bit too long and repetitive. Overall, Go Set a Watchman is an excellent novel by Lee who produced a sequel worthy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Additional Insight and Comments (Potential Spoilers):
- Jean Louise drove me crazy with her tendency to jump to conclusions, rage, and be completely unreasonable. I could hardly handle listening to her tell her elderly father she hates him, while also managing to compare him to Hitler. She would work herself into a tizzy without even asking Hank or her father their side of the story. She would have saved herself and her family a lot of grief if she would have approached the situation like an adult and not a spoiled child. In her tantrum, she would have cut off her elderly father who had never shown her a reason to doubt him, without giving him a chance to defend himself. Her petulance grew wearisome by the end of the book along with the multitude of lectures endured by the reader.
- My favorite part of the book occurs during her reflections on her childhood and the stories of their adventures, especially the school dance.
- I still don’t understand the dismissal of Hank by Jean Louise? Why is he not the one for her? I felt like that was just accepted without reflection by Jean Louise at the end of the book.
- Does anyone else keep saying Mockingjay instead of Mockingbird? Am I the only one?