Monday, August 03, 2015

[Book Review] Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee


Andrea reviews GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee (HarperCollins Publishers, 2015)
Let me clarify what I know about this “new” book by reclusive author, Harper Lee. Although Ms. Lee is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is actually the “parent” book of TKAM. What this means is Harper Lee initially presented her publishers a manuscript of GSAW and it was rejected. Her editor specifically asked for Ms. Lee to rewrite the story 20 years prior with a young Scout growing up during the Great Depression in Alabama.
This is how To Kill a Mockingbird was conceived, written, and published!
Now here it is over fifty years later, and Go Set a Watchman is flying off the shelves. Harper Lee has written another masterpiece that is again full of controversy. In this story, Scout is now 26 years old and goes by Jean Louise and lives in New York.  Her homecoming to Maycomb, Alabama this year will be full of shock and heartbreak. Her noble father, Atticus, has gotten older, of course, but his staunch beliefs from TKAM have completely changed. Jean Louise, with help from family, friends, and her own heartstrings, must realize Atticus was never meant to be his daughter’s only guidepost in life. It takes a lot for Jean Louise to recognize this life lesson.
There has been a lot of heated discussion about this book and its characters. That is not necessarily a bad thing. You may not agree with every viewpoint from every character. That is okay, also. The idea of a good book is to prompt discussion and strong feelings.
Just remember the quote by Jo Godwin: “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”
Andrea Bledsoe King, Poplar-White Station Library

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