Go Set A Watchman

Go Set A Watchman

A Novel

Book - 2015
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"Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch -- Scout -- struggles with issues both personal and political involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her. Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right." - Publisher.
Publisher: [New York] : HarperCollins, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062409850
0062409859
Branch Call Number: F Lee

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s
StrangelyExuberant
Mar 03, 2020

After 4 chapters... this was clearly not the book for me. Maybe you will have more luck.

a
AM1798
Dec 11, 2019

Excellent book. Revises the childish nostalgia of "To Kill a Mocking Bird" with a grown woman's slow recognition of how deeply embedded racism is in our culture, even among our heroes. A sad read, but a welcome call out of "good" people who are blind to culturally embedded racism.

o
OP_2
Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / February 2016

c
cougarmay
Jul 22, 2019

Reese Witherspoon captures the "heart" of 'To Set A Watchman' with her narration. For those who have read the book, the audiobook version adds a nuance of emphasis. Reese plays the part of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch brilliantly . . . the adult, the "inner child," and the child. The book, being written in the 1950s, set in the 1950s, about the 1950s "South" hits its mark practically perfectly. Anyone who critiques the book and its characters on the basis of the 21st Century both has not lived through the 1950s-the 1970s and shall miss the finer points of Harper Lee's clever, brilliant storytelling. Harper Lee writes a Real Truth very well. To call Atticus Finch a "White Supremacist" misses the entire point of the book. To call him a "Racist" misapplies the "Times and Days of Change." Why yes, an outsider can correctly call him a bigot and certainly see his bigotry and ungracious "paternalism" as he portrays a viewpoint on the notion of "race" rather than seeing individuals and people. As Atticus' viewpoint remains a central view of many folks even today . . . Harper Lee tells it well.

Harper Lee shows us and tells us about a society and polity that existed then and exists now as the "social order" and "political order" remains the minds, the thoughts, and the entrenched beliefs of individuals passed down to the "collective." Here, Scout . . . Jean Louise . . . a member of the "collective" tells us she missed the "passed down" entrenched beliefs, the collective thoughts, and the "white Southern mind" much to her utter surprise and disgust.

Harper Lee's book holds many lesson and a multitude of insights about what occurs today in "Trump's America." A most excellent read. I shall gift this book to all my children and many folks. Perhaps, I'll send an autographed (my autograph) to Donald Trump.

Bye-the-Bye, my original "southern state" birth certificate read: "Colored." "Colored" being the term applied to "mulattoes," thus my viewpoint reflects a bit of a "racial bias," if you will allow and recognize.

a
Anita_Dickey
Mar 29, 2019

i read this book to fulfil the goal read a book that was written posthumously. i enjoyed visiting with familier characters, but i didn't find it as good as the first one. i espiscally liked the flashbacks of her childhood.

b
baldand
Mar 08, 2019

(Warning: contains spoilers) This sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was actually written first, and on p. 109 it gives a quite different version of the trial central to her masterpiece. Mayella Ewell, the white woman Tom Robinson was accused of raping, is an unnamed 14-year-old, and Atticus secures an acquittal. The funny story about the Cunninghams and the Conninghams in Maycomb (p.44-45) also appears in TKAMB. It probably would have been removed from the novel if Lee had been healthy enough to revise her manuscript. While TKAMB is told by Scout the child in the first person, the sequel is mostly told in the third person, but always dealing with Jean Louise’s experiences. Sometimes Lee lapses into first person narration, as if she had mixed feelings about her choice. It is a pity in a sense that she didn’t rewrite the book in the first person, like TKAMB. The NYT reviewer said the book revealed Atticus Finch as a white supremacist, the Guardian as a racist. It seems to me neither description is really fair to Atticus’s views as Lee depicts them. He is opposed, as is his daughter, to the Supreme Court decision on desegregation and is willing to make alliances with white racists to oppose the changes it is likely to bring. He has a much too conservative view of how fast the South can change to ensure racial equality. This is what puts off his daughter, Jean Louise, who wears her colour-blindness on her sleeve. Calpurnia, who was practically a mother to Scout in TKAMB, only has one meeting with Jean Louise, when she asks her “What are you all doing to us?” Oddly enough, this book set in the mid-1950s as Alabama desegregated, presents a bleaker view of race relations than its predecessor set in the 1930s. It’s a shame that the book never received the same loving attention of an editor that TKAMB did, but it is well worth reading just the same.

k
KWhite190
Jan 25, 2019

I am giving this two and a half stars purely out of loyalty to Harper Lee. This served as a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird and should be recognized as such as it was never intended for publication. Like everyone else, I hate Atticus's character in this book and am very glad she changed his character's development. For those who feel betrayed, Lee has done her job; Scout, the reader's moral compass, feels betrayed and that her innocence has been ripped away. This reflects the reader's experience, so this feeling of betrayal is cathartic once he or she recognize that a person's personality can vary in drastic directions; this is the case for Atticus and produces a far more realistic and accessible character than present in Mockingbird. Now, as to the plot, it is forgettable and not at all life-changing like Mockingbird. The switching between child and adult Scout was disorientating; child Scout is amusing, fiery, and engaging, while adult Scout is jaded, bitter, and bland so it is no wonder as to why Lee's editor told her to focus on child Scout exclusively. If not for its relation to a classic I adore, I would not pick up this book.

k
kdatin
Nov 11, 2018

Loved this book by Harper Lee even more than To Kill a Mockingbird because the beloved characters were more human. Scout had to grow up and face the reality of her family, community, Calpurnia and her father. Her uncle's reaction to her anger about Atticus sobered her and she changed her perspective. Her conflicts about her family made her stronger and she could still accept them and live her life. Her choices would forever be colored by them.

f
FairhavenLibe
Sep 23, 2018

What a joy to be reading something by Harper Lee again; I am reminded of the composer Erik Satie's "Gnossienne" and "Gymnopedie" pieces and the observation someone made that they are like going around a statue, taking in all the nuances of the work. Worthwhile reading and discussing.

o
orange_lobster_23
Mar 16, 2018

My love of "To Kill A Mockingbird" doesn't diminish my appreciation of this earlier work.
It should be considered a companion piece focused more on time, setting, community vs. individual personality. Many members of Council's within southern communities were often
people of professional and civic esteem despite their white racist ideology. I read this as a companion piece.

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Quotes

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a
ambdizzle
Aug 23, 2019

If you did not want much, there was plenty.

j
jdgies
Feb 08, 2019

"I guess it's like an airplane: they're the drag and we're the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we're nose heavy, too much of them and we're tail heavy - it's a matter of balance. I can't beat him, I can't join him"

j
jdgies
Feb 08, 2019

"... the time your friends need you is when they're wrong, Jean Louise. They don't need you when they're right."

j
jdgies
Feb 08, 2019

"Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends."

madison382 Sep 04, 2015

Jean Louise interrupted: "Hester, let me ask you someting, I've home since Saturday now and since Saturday I've heard a great deal of talk about mongrelizin' the race, and it's led me to wonder if that's not rather an unfortunate phrase, and if probably it should be discarded from Southern jargon these days. It takes two races to mongrelize a race - if that's the right word - and when we white people holler about mongrelizin' isn't that
something of a reflection on ourselves as a race?

j
jimg2000
Aug 28, 2015

The beau:

Henry checked her: “Look, honey. Have you ever considered that men, especially men, must conform to certain demands of the community they live in simply so they can be of service to it? “Maycomb County’s home to me, honey. It’s the best place I know to live in. I’ve built up a good record here from the time I was a kid. Maycomb knows me, and I know Maycomb. Maycomb trusts me, and I trust Maycomb. My bread and butter comes from this town, and Maycomb’s given me a good living. “But Maycomb asks certain things in return. It asks you to lead a reasonably clean life, it asks that you join the Kiwanis Club, to go to church on Sunday, it asks you to conform to its ways—”

j
jimg2000
Aug 28, 2015

Uncle Jack on civil war:

“What was it that made the ragtag little Confederate Army the last of its kind? What made it so weak, but so powerful it worked miracles?” “Ah—Robert E. Lee?” “Good God, girl!” shouted her uncle. “It was an army of individuals! They walked off their farms and walked to the War!”

“Jean Louise,” he said dryly, “not much more than five per cent of the South’s population ever saw a slave, much less owned one. Now, something must have irritated the other ninety-five per cent.” Jean Louise looked blankly at her uncle. “Has it never occurred to you—have you never, somewhere along the line, received vibrations to the effect— ... They fought to preserve their identity. Their political identity, their personal identity.”

j
jimg2000
Aug 28, 2015

Papa Atticus:
INTEGRITY, HUMOR, AND patience were the three words for Atticus Finch. There was also a phrase for him: pick at random any citizen from Maycomb County and its environs, ask him what he thought of Atticus Finch, and the answer would most likely be, “I never had a better friend.” Atticus Finch’s secret of living was so simple it was deeply complex: where most men had codes and tried to live up to them, Atticus lived his to the letter with no fuss, no fanfare, and no soul-searching. His private character was his public character. His code was simple New Testament ethic, its rewards were the respect and devotion of all who knew him. Even his enemies loved him, because Atticus never acknowledged that they were his enemies. He was never a rich man, but he was the richest man his children ever knew.

j
jimg2000
Aug 28, 2015

The Aunt:
Alexandra was one of those people who had gone through life at no cost to themselves; had she been obliged to pay any emotional bills during her earthly life, Jean Louise could imagine her stopping at the check-in desk in heaven and demanding a refund.

Alexandra's social prejudice:
Fine a boy as he is, the trash won’t wash out of him. “Have you ever noticed how he licks his fingers when he eats cake? Trash. Have you ever seen him cough without covering his mouth? Trash. Did you know he got a girl in trouble at the University? Trash. Have you ever watched him pick at his nose when he didn’t think anybody was looking? Trash—”
“That’s not the trash in him, that’s the man in him, Aunty,” she said mildly.

j
jimg2000
Aug 28, 2015

Setting of Maycomb:
Until comparatively recently in its history, Maycomb County was so cut off from the rest of the nation that some of its citizens, unaware of the South’s political predilections over the past ninety years, still voted Republican. No trains went there—Maycomb Junction, a courtesy title, was located in Abbott County, twenty miles away. Bus service was erratic and seemed to go nowhere, but the Federal Government had forced a highway or two through the swamps, thus giving the citizens an opportunity for free egress. But few people took advantage of the roads, and why should they? If you did not want much, there was plenty.

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KWhite190
Jan 25, 2019

KWhite190 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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kastigar
Jan 20, 2018

kastigar thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

peter_103 Feb 19, 2016

peter_103 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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blue_dolphin_4400
Aug 13, 2015

blue_dolphin_4400 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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