Go Set A Watchman

Go Set A Watchman

Large Print - 2015
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Twenty years after the trial of Tom Robinson, Scout returns home to Maycomb to visit her father and struggles with personal and political issues as her small Alabama town adjusts to the turbulent events beginning to transform the United States in the mid-1950s.
Publisher: New York, NY :, HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2015]
Edition: First HarperLuxe edition, Large print edition
Description: 341 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780062433657
0062433652
9780062409881
0062409883
Branch Call Number: LP Lee
Additional Contributors: Lee, Harper. Go set a watchman

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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.

k
kastigar
Jan 20, 2018

After reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD first, I can understand why the publisher rejected this novel when first submitted. His recommendations worked out well.

This was not where near as good and compelling as TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD but it was worthwhile reading to understand that book in concept. In summary: this was good, but not great.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jan 07, 2018

I have seen and heard so many things about this book, and I think I have reached a point of inner denial and understanding at the same time. I, for one, do not believe that this book was written to its full potential. By that, I suspect something other than the joy behind writing to be the main motive for its existence. That saddens me a lot. The repetition of literal paragraphs from To Kill A Mockingbird is quite alarming, as it seems as if parts were literally "copied and pasted." I do not know where the plot is going with it, and it certainly did not grant me any closure.
- @Siri of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

g
gkevinliu
Dec 29, 2017

When I heard about this book I was intrigued in that it was the story Harper Lee started with, but set aside at her publisher's suggestion. Compared to "To Kill a Mockingbird", this novel is not as polished and is obviously the first novel from a new author. On its own, it is a compelling, yet uncomfortable story.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a great book: moving story, intriguing characters, good entryway to important discussions. Thus, it is a good book for the classroom.

On the other hand, "Go Set a Watchman" is a good book that furthers the discussion. The characters are good, but simpler yet more complex at the same time. In this book, Lee tackles the issue of racism as a spectrum, not as a binary trait as portrayed in "To Kill a Mockingbird". Where Atticus Finch was the hero, he is now a more questionable character in "Go Set a Watchman", leading to a deeper, and potentially more uncomfortable, story.

But if you're looking for a story that leads to introspection and suggests the need to work at getting better, or for a story that spurs the debate about what makes for the "good guy" vs. the "bad guy", this is it. Myself, I appreciated the discomfort relating to the discussion of racism and leaned into it because it forced me to consider exactly what I believed was right.

As a former classroom teacher, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a good start for discussions, but it would be interesting to set these two books together for an advanced class. Or, to compare and contrast the good/bad guy issue and the discomfort of racism, it would be interesting to set the next to "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

b
btieu95
Aug 18, 2017

Hmm, not my style. I really liked To Kill a Mockingbird and while there were some nice parts in this one, it somehow feels like an unfinished work. The flow of the story was disjointed like a dream in which you were dragged unwillingly from a middle of a conversation to another.

a
aafleming
Aug 04, 2017

This book was falsely marketed as a new manuscript from Harper Lee when in fact it was a first draft of the book which eventually came To Kill A Mockingbird. Apparently an editor worked on this with her for an extended period of time and together they eventually produced TKAM. This book is really bad and reads like it was written by someone in high school. If you didn't recognize some of these characters from TKAM they would be completely unsympathetic and uninteresting. At least we finally have the definitive answer to why Harper Lee never wrote another novel -- it was just too hard!

brianreynolds Feb 26, 2017

Watchman would a be an easy novel to assess, an easy read if it weren’t, in addition to being a story in its own right, the rough draft of an American classic about tolerance. And clearly a sequel to that classic. And a disturbing justification of intolerance, a curious condemnation of the US Supreme Court and the NAACP. As a story, however, it certainly deserves a “like.” It is a rather charming comedy (with a lot of slack cut for characters I’ve loved for more than sixty years.) The big syzygy scene does unfortunately rely on an assault and a bottle of whiskey in order to effect a miraculous about-face in a protagonist hell bent on being the star of a more heroic book. A bit hard to swallow. But stranger things happened in the deep South in the middle of the last century. As a story the reader is teased (albeit with help from the former, or latter, book’s charm and courage) into believing that a pure-hearted knight might stand up against a corrupt society, might forego the temptations of family and love and community all for the sake of justice and truth. My, that does echo Mockingbird, doesn’t it? But this story takes a different turn. Its politics and morality, I fear, don’t rate even an “okay.” Maybe if Mockingbird had never been written, this book might have stood up better. Of course, if Mockingbird had never been written, the perverse ideas about the right to treat people differently on the basis of race might have had an even rougher ride among Americans and others around the world in the past decades.

m
mckeett
Dec 26, 2016

What a disappointment.

b
belalin
Dec 25, 2016

Go Set a Watchman is the original draft manuscript of To Kill A Mockingbird which published in 1960. However during the editing process it was decided that the story would end in the late 1930's while Jem and Jean Louise were still children and that a sequel would be written later on. The sequel was never written although Harper Lee lived until 2016. At some points it is evident that Go Set a Watchman is indeed a draft. However, like TKAM it is quite engaging and worth reading and it continues the life of the main characters of TKAM into the mid 1950s.

h
humbleworm
Nov 28, 2016

The two books are not inconsistent with each other but they do present slightly different messages and Go Set A Watchman focuses on complexities of imperfect adults. It seems fitting that this grownup rough draft is less polished than the more idealistic childhood memories of To Kill A Mockingbird. This book may alter your perception of TKAM slightly, but should not diminish your impression of it.

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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.

s
Sarica140
Aug 24, 2015

When Calpurnia was at her side Jean Louise said, "Excuse me, please," reached up and brought Calpurnia's head to the level of her own. "Cal," she whispered, "is Atticus real upset?"
Calpurnia straightened up, looked down at her, and said to the table at large, "Mr. Finch? Nam, Miss Scout. He on the back porch laughin'!" Page 70

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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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