Book Review: Go Set a Watchman

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman

Bekah Redinger , Staff Writer

Go Set a Watchman

Spoiler warning: The plot of the book may be spoiled for readers in this article.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, is the continuation of the story To Kill a Mockingbird. It was written in the 1950s, but was never published. It was recently found and released on July 14th of 2015. In its first week of being available, over a million copies were sold.

The book is set about twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird. It is the story of Jean Louise Finch returning to Maycomb, Alabama, the town where she grew up, on vacation from her new life in New York. She quickly finds that the town that she grew up in has changed. Her family has suffered the loss of her brother Jeremy, ‘Jem’ and her father Atticus is now in his early seventies. A new character, Henry Clinton, is introduced as Atticus’ apprentice and the man who wants to marry Jean Louise.

Jean Louise’s world has been shaken by the new segregation policies in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Brown vs. The Board of Education” ruling and the way that blacks are being treated in the South. As a little girl, she was taught never to discriminate between races because her father was good to everyone no matter their color. When she comes back however, she finds that she is the only one who does not care whether someone is black or white. Even the people who taught her to be colorblind are seemingly racist, including Atticus. She is visibly upset by this and tries to fix her world, but she soon learns that screaming at the world will not change it.

Much controversy has been caused by the release of the book. Readers are angry because their favorite characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are dead or changed beyond how well they knew them. People are also upset over the story because it may seem to promote racism and accepting it in the world as Jean Louise in the end stands back and watches discrimination happen around her. She has many flashbacks to the days when she was called Scout and through these she learns how people change and how the way that she was raised made her who she is.

After reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is a good way to see what happens to the town of Maycomb and its inhabitants in the future. The plot of Go Set a Watchman is very interesting, as is the theme of childhood memories shaping who a person is and how they view the world. But if controversy and characters changing are not something that someone wants to read, it would not be advisable to read Go Set a Watchman.