SO MUCH ANTICIPATION! I feel like this book had so much hype around its release. Then I started hearing rumors about the main characters and how much different they were from “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Like most of my generation, we were forced to read “TKaM” in high school. Probably freshman year when the last thing you wanted to do in English class was read an ancient book about race and ones character. Then they wanted us to talk about it! How dare those teachers! So, naturally, many years later I still didn’t appreciate the book for what it really was and my interest to read “GSAW” was not so high. Curiosity did get the better of me but still I held off on buying the book because I still wanted to see what other people thought. Then my book club suggested we read it. I should say that I am the youngest of my book club by at least 15 years, so I was not the least bit surprised this book came up on our TBR list. So, without further rambling, here is my review for “Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee”.
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, Every man’s watchman, is his conscience.”
“Love who you want, but marry your own kind.”
Have you ever read a really good book that went on to be a literary classic that didn’t test the morals of society? A book that didn’t make you sit there and think and have a ‘AH HA!’ moment?
A lady in my book club told me a little bit about this book, that it was meant to come out before “To Kill a Mockingbird” but Harper Lee’s publisher said this book is not what the readers wanted. There is much going on in this book! This book is set in the past, but with a very modern take. Jean Louise reminded me a lot of a woman of 26 years in today’s society. Jean Louise grew up to be well beyond her years and she struggled with this in the book. Although, no one comes right out and says this, Harper Lee does a great job of letting her readers know.
Some of the things I caught in the book were about religion, and how important it is was. Also, there was a lot of talk about where a womans place should be in the house and society. There was also the giant elephant that you couldn’t miss if you tried, race. All these points make the story. When reading this book you have to understand that this book was written, and is based, in a very different time than the one we live in today. The way Harper Lee uses Jean Louise to portray one side of a very controversial topic speaks greatly to her writing skills. Aunty Alexandra, Hank and Atticus, and Uncle Jack were very important characters, they helped drive home the modern views of Jean Louise. Aunty found it a very acceptable position to take care of the house. From the cooking, to cleaning, to maintaining a peaceful home. She definitely held nothing back when telling Jean Louise she should strive for the same life. Hank and Atticus both drove home the point about keeping things the way they were. If it isn’t broke? Uncle Jack was much like JL but in a not so traditional way! He gave a nice comical break! All this just confirmed Jean Louise was very much a normal woman according to today, very outcast back then.
The topic of race in this book is widely talked about today. A lot of people were offended and in return they criticized the book, the writing, and the characters. Mainly Atticus because he was such an influential person in “TKaM” and went against the grain and stood up for what we thought he believed in. In this book he stands up for what he believes in but makes it much more clear what those beliefs are. It still baffles me why people were so offended because if you had read her previous book, you should have had some indication on what this book was going to contain. I am not going into the race topic because it is a topic that has so many different views and can easily become a heated debate and that is not what this blog is designed for.
I enjoyed this book so much because Jean Louise had todays views on race and it was interesting to see how this strong, independent woman handles this in her small town that is not ready to progress forward in their ways. She stands up to her father, her Uncle, Hank and even finds a way to admire Alexandra. It’s a great journey to finding where you fit in.
This book was a very good read and I would recommend it to everyone who wants a good read, and doesn’t get offended too easily. This book was well worth the hype, and will be a classic for sure.
I give this book 4/5 stars.