Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee | Book Review

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MacaSkys says:

Can I read this book (cause I got it today) and then read HTKAM????
PS: The writing is bad?????

Colter Harris says:

I think Atticus Finch is still a terrific character even with the new information in this book. Atticus is a man who, despite his newly-revealed racism, still adamantly and passionately defended a black man. He holds justice to the highest standard and his belief in the law quells all personal beliefs and petty views, he is still a shining example of Blind Justice. For example, SCOTUS, or the Supreme Court, were assembled to be the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution, in that if they are faced with a case involving an opinion or idea that is unpopular, maybe even extremely unpopular, perhaps even detestable to many or some – for this instance let's use the absolute worst case scenario: Wesboro Baptist Church protesting soldiers and gay suicides' funerals – they must still defend it if it still qualifies as free speech, which they decided it did.

They're supposed to be so objectively devoted to the Constitution, that Supreme Court members can opt to stay out of a certain case if it conflicts with their own personal beliefs. Being that if they don't have the capacity to concede to or even humor the idea that say, gay marriage is constitutionally valid and make an objective ruling, then they can choose to sit that one out.

Unfortunately morals or personal politics gets in the way of true justice, and even to this day it's so common it's ridiculous. The fact that Atticus still had the courage to risk his life and public reputation defend a black man who he believed to be innocent still makes him a fantastically beautiful character, and still serves him a place among the greatest in literature and cinema entirely.

Sometimes the unpopular – even extremely unpopular – opinion, over time, can progress to become the new status quo. is not to say that the unpopular opinion isn't often unpopular for a reason. The Westboro Baptist Church are a bunch of jerks, and are hated for a reason. Racism is unpopular today for a reason, but the right to have and/or defend the unpopular opinion, no matter how detestable it is to oneself or the world entire, is simply a cost of being free. If we live in a country where we refuse the ability to believe in or consider or sometimes even defend the unpopular opinion, then freedom means absolutely nothing.

Books By Best says:

This was such a great review! I'm currently reading it, I'm almost done with it. I really do like it, but doesn't compare to my love for To Kill A Mockingbird. It's also interesting because TKAM was written several years after, so in a round about way it actually shows character growth and development even if TKAM feels like a prequel.

Brandi Marie says:

We had to read To Kill a Mockingbird in school and I feel I need to read it again before tackling this book. I'm very interested in it, however I'm not going to lie, it's not at the top of my list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Daniel Fotheringham says:

I finished Go Set A Watchman today and thought it was a good book because the thing which stuck out to me was how Scout's rebellion cost her dignity and pride as a person and it gave issues that i'm sure people who come to college have that realisation that not everything is nice. I treated it as a singular book than a draft (as I was unaware it was just a draft) but I felt it lacked some of the childish wit and charm the original has but that's my own opinion. Overall enjoyed it lots and Harper Lee did everything I hoped that she would do.

WellDoneBooks says:

Just finished it, and I was really pleased with how the characters were flawed. After re-reading TKAM, I realized it annoyed me how much Scout idolized Atticus, but it makes sense since she is a child and he is looked on by the town as someone of integrity and perfection. So his changes and  her realization that he is flawed were refreshing aspects of the book to me. I thought the writing was actually pretty decent for a draft, so I couldn't really knock it there. Especially because I found the stream of consciousness style from Scout's POV really unique and a bit more fluid than in TKAM. Overall I was way happier with this book than anticipated, while saddened that a lot of the views expressed in it from the 1950's are still held today :/ Great review, Rincey!

The Art of Law says:

You seem to really like this book, but then give it only 3 stars, but then go back to really appreciating that it is a more challenging on the complex issues then "To Kill a Mockingbird." I hope that you consider adding more stars in the future.
I really liked "Go Set a Watchmen", because, as you mentioned , it is important to knock off Mockingbird's characters off their pedestal.

I like that this book made you want to "throw it against the wall in the best possible way." I felt that way, particularly when the Uncle slapped Jean Louise (spoiler).

As you mention, the issues of racial prejudice are ones we are still struggling with today in the U.S. (and not just in the south). Therefore, this book magically seems stuck in the 1950's while commenting on the present.

In the twilight years of a long life, maybe Harper Lee wanted to leave readers with a richer, more complex legacy for her characters. 

Thanks for your review.

Alexander Kosmas Papastathis says:

I bought "go set a watchman " about a week ago , but haven't read it yet . should a read "to kill a mockingbird " first or not ??

Tess Lydon says:

Good review Rincey! I just finished GSAW a little while ago and I agreed with a lot of what you said! I think I'll always have mixed feelings about the book because I did put Atticus on a bit of a pedestal so seeing him like this in GSAW just didn't compute in my brain. I appreciated trying to make the characters more complex, and I think that's a very important part of true story telling – even if my 2015 brain didn't get it. 
The mention of the drafting of the book now makes a lot more sense to me. ( I wasn't really aware of it before) It did feel a bit unedited so I now take that into account.

ForTheLoveOfRyan says:

Nice review! I feel like this book has so much to teach us if only we'll let it: about To Kill A Mockingbird's legacy, sure, but also about how drafts make it through the labyrinth of publication, or about racism in the South, and ESPECIALLY about how we imagine our heroes and our villains. I'm a vlogger who is just kind of starting out in BookTube — any recommendations on who else I should check out? I've also got a Go Set A Watchman video up now — any chance I could get some suggestions for what works/doesn't work on that video??? (P.S. Subscribing now, nice work!)

Kathleen Ann says:

I really enjoyed this review. It feels honest and practical and makes me want to read the book more. I was worried after all of the horrible reviews but I feel like it is worth reading. It sounds thought provoking and maybe a bit more realistic that TKAMB.

BookWorm says:

I personally thought the book added a lot to To Kill a Mockingbird because we find out more about her family. And I really like the whole situation where Scout thought of Atticus as God and not a man with real feelings. I read it and then listened to it just to help get more details that I missed which the audio book is fantastic because Reese Witherspoon was the narrater.

Liken Books says:

Great review! I just finished the book today and I agree with a lot of what you've said here. There are so many mixed reviews but the only way for people to really come to a conclusion is to definitely read the book. While Scout was a little annoying in To Kill A Mockingbird, I really liked her character in this book.

ThomasHawkwood says:

To kill a mockingbird is my favorite book. I was dismayed when I heard that the new book was making Atticus out to be a racist. It took me almost until the end to enjoy this book. The way I was finally able to enjoy it was that I was on the same journey as Jean Louise. I went through the journey with her feeling the same pain as she was seeing an idol knocked off his pedestal.

writerspen010 says:

I'm so on the fence about reading this book.–I've always wanted Harper Lee to write another book, but I came to accept she wouldn't with her decades of saying of no. And when I realized how much more I prefer stand alone novels, and realized just how many of my favorite writers wrote so few books, I was more or less fine that she didn't. But this all seems so suspicious to me (I've heard talk of elder abuse and medical reasons, for example, being influences on why this was published, and now supposedly there's a 3rd book…?), and I don't understand why anybody–especially Harper Lee of all people, since her main beef has always been that whatever else she might have written would be compared too much to TKaM–would publish what's basically a draft of their book… Idk, I feel like I'll read this somebody, but I'm not ready yet.

Jarrod Lacy says:

Thank you for your insightful review. As I told a cashier at one of my favorite, local hangouts, I'm going to wait until this book hits my third home, the library. Patience is a niche of mine that has always fostered my anticipation.

KayTube says:

I can safely say that some of the reviews and criticism you heard going in to reading the book were the same ones I've heard and likewise I too developed my own bias. However, after seeing this video it makes me want to give both books a chance. Thanks for sharing your review 🙂

Marie V says:

I've never read TKAM but I almost feel like I want to skip right to GSAW based on this review. It just seems so relevant with me being in my 20s and all the current events

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