R.I.P. Harper Lee
April 28, 1926- February 19, 2016
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch–“Scout”–returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past–a journey that can be guided only by one’s conscience.
I’m not even sure where to start with this… warning there will be spoilers in this review, I usually try to avoid that, but I don’t think I can give an honest review without getting really into this book.
I loved this book, but I’m not sure I liked it, though the more time passes since I finished the more I understand it. A lot of people were really upset by this book because it shows a different side of Atticus than we saw in To Kill a Mockingbird. I understand where people are coming from being angry, it’s one of the reasons I’m not sure I liked the books, but I do understand it. I kept hoping everything Scout was thinking and had seen was just a misunderstanding. Jean Louise aka Scout is 26 in this book so we are finally seeing Atticus through the eyes of an adult because in TKaM Scout was 6-9 years old so we only saw Atticus as she saw Atticus. That’s why I understand the change in Atticus we see from TKaM to GSaW. As a child Scout only saw the best in Atticus and he only let her see the best in him, he was a single parent doing his best to raise two children. Jean Louise finally sees her father as a real person and I was just as appalled as she was when she finally figured it out, but like Scout I understood it by the end of the book. People need to realize the times this book was being written in and that this book was actually written BEFORE To Killing a Mockingbird. Lee didn’t wake up one morning and decide to change everything people had believed about Atticus for the last 50 years. If you are happy in your bubble that Atticus is everything good and pure then don’t read this book, but if you are willing to realize that people are not always as we see them and are willing to open your mind then you’ll love it too. My other issue with this book was Jem, that was like a shot to my already grieving heart. I loved grown up Scout though, I’d like to think her and I would be very good friends. I wish we could have a sequel to this book. I’d like to see how Jean Louise copes with learning her father is human and has flaws and what she does about it.
I feel the need to read To Kill a Mockingbird again now and see if there’s a change in the way I view the story.