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Go Set The Watchmen: A Tale of Change in the South

Updated on June 10, 2016

Go Set the Watchmen By Harper Lee Book Review


So I stumbled across this in the local thrift store and it’s a book I have been curious about for a while. Its Harper Lee’s follow up to the classic book To Kill a Mocking Bird called Go Set The Watchmen. So of course I got it ad here is my review.

The book follows twenty six year old Jean Louise, a college student who comes home from school during break to his southern Alabama home town Maycomb to visit her aging sick father, on and off again boyfriend, and her home town in general. After that the story consists of flashbacks of how Jean Louise grew from a rough and dirty tomboy to a teenage girl who just could not fit in with any of the girls no matter how much she tried. It also follows present day story line as the rise of civil rights are starting to bleed its way into the south and everyone she knew growing up has some very shocking opinions about the matter that led to racism and segregation in Maycomb. It is something that she fails to understand as she sees all people as people rather than races of people.

So the good? Well there are some powerful themes in this book and very powerful moments to support them. The fact that all her family (and white people in general) share this opinion that the black people are simpletons are a powerful themes, but the most impactful powerful scene is her visit with Cal. It is scene where she visits the black house keeper who practically raised her but Cal sees Jean Louise as a daughter she sees her a white person and not as family. The great racial divide creates many scenes that pull at the heartstrings so much. It has this balance of tension and drama. Also for a select number of people who have older family members in the deep south, this situation might hit close to home. My family is from the south and sadly I heard somewhat similar ways of thinking told me in my lifetime. And like the situation in this book, there’s no convincing the people otherwise. So I believe the topic may hit home with a few people today. Also I thought Jean Louise’s tale of growing up was interesting.

The bad? I felt the book was all over the place. It jumps from flash back to present in a chaotic manner with no real flow. Also the book had no real resolution either. I guess the book can be looked at as tale about a girl who does not belong in place she thought she loved. But it seemed very aimless. The book is also very short. Take that away the big print it’s only around 150 pages. And I felt that there really wasn’t enough materials to be invested to make it a good story.

Overall, To Kill a Mockingbird is a masterpiece. This is not. This is hits many of the same beats in an aimless fashion, and isn’t just as good. So unless you’re dying to read this book. I would skip it.

Overall Rating: A Tale of Change in the South

1 ½ smoothie out of four.

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