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Book Reviews of Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman
Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
ISBN-13: 9780062409850
ISBN-10: 0062409859
Publication Date: 7/14/2015
Pages: 278
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 142

3.2 stars, based on 142 ratings
Publisher: Harper
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

19 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 110 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I see why "To Kill a Mockingbird" had to be published first. ALL of the characters and events would not be as effective if we hadn't have Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, and Atticus for the past 50 years - in both movie and book forms.

This was Scout growing up to be Jean Louise - all in the matter of a few days. If __I__ had not read (and eventually saw) Mockingbird before reading Watchman, I could not appreciate the growth she undergoes - at all. If Atticus was not so definitively set as the solo bastion, I could not enjoy meeting his brother and sisters (yes, there are more Finch's in Maycomb County!) as much.

The title IS the meaning of the book. You should read it and watch Scout grow understand WHY she needed to 'Go Set a Watchman' - finally.

--
Kuzu


PS. This is one of my rare five star ratings. I'm gonna have to wait a few months and see if I keep this opinion after enough time has passed.
loregess avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
What the heck, Scout? You stand your ground almost until the very end, not caring whether you alienate your family because dang it, you have ethical morals and you will defend them to the end almost. Then your uncle slaps you across the face and pours some liquor down your throat, and all of a sudden you concede and are okay with the way things are. Tsk tsk, young lady. This book does not hold a candle to To Kill a Mockingbird, and fortunately for fans of the great classic, it does not take anything away from it either. In fact fans of TKAM may end up loving the classic even more!
ChezGery avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Harper Lee did a fantastic novel that takes you back to the 'good o'l days post segregation in the south,however,the laws may have changed the mind set in many hasn't.A good interior look at those who struggle on holding on to the past in a an evolving society.The books introspect is about change and how those effected by it can change or cling to the past and at the same time attempt to move ahead in a way that maintains their dignity and moral conscience.The language and racial slurs may upset many,However,remember the honesty of the time setting and references of the period and you will understand it couldn't have been done otherwise without sacrificing the honesty of history of the past.You will be in lighted by reading this book for young and old alike.And if older you will remember back and then wonder if we have 'really' moved ahead or just found out a way to be socially correct.
joann avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 312 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Our idols have a human side.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 379 more book reviews
I guess we can't blame Harper Lee and/or her publisher for putting a sure-fire money maker on the market, but this is like watching a world-class athlete return after too many years away from his sport. This book simply doesn't work on so many levels. Where Scout of TKAM is endearing, Jean Louise is annoying. It is telling that the original Finch home has been torn down and is now a commercial establishment - the parallels go on and on. I gave this book 2 stars out of respect for Harper Lee, a once great literary "athlete" reduced to this.
crzyquilter avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 18 more book reviews
I was rather disappointed in this book. It took a long time to get into it. I almost gave up, but kept on just because of the author's history. There wasn't really a distinguishable "conflict" until very late in the book. I thought it was just going to be a lame love story. Didn't turn out to be that at all. After the beginning drag the ending was rushed.
eadieburke avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 1218 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book but I liked To Kill A Mockingbird better. Lee wrote "Go Set a Watchman" in the third person, and it seems to distract from the book in my opinion. The novel is still worth a read though as it is set 20 years later than TKAM and it is interesting to hear from the same characters and how their outlooks have changed. I would recommend reading this novel as it's a thought-provoking and entertaining read.
joeysweeps avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 15 more book reviews
"Go Set a Watchman" was a very easy novel for me to get into and to want to keep reading. I fell in love with the main character of Jean Louise as she was a bit of an anti-establishmentarian long before the 60s. After returning to her small, southern town from living in New York for a few years, she continued to "clash" with her elders, questioned the stereotypical role of marriage and being a wife, and refused to be the demure southern belle. So, for the first half of the book, I was amused by Jean Louise's reactions to returning home keeping in mind the historical context of the novel.
The second half of the novel was equally interesting but took on a more serious tone. Jean Louise's rose colored glassed were shattered. She had become more worldly through her New York experiences and she had become an adult. Therefore, her lenses became painfully more realistic. Heroes fell off of pedestals and childhood relationships were severed.
As in some other novels, I felt the author trailed off and really did not quite know how to end the story. All in all, much food for thought considering our nation is still struggling with a racial divide.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 8 more book reviews
Let me start by stating that To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time and the movie is my favorite movie of all time. I grew up in the south and Scout's childhood was pretty much my childhood. Mockingbird was proclaimed the greatest novel of its century. Rightly so. Now, the question is, will Go Set A Watchman be declared the greatest novel of this century? Perhaps. I haven't waited so impatiently for a novel's release since the last Dan Brown book (he's addictive). I was not disappointed! I read this in two evenings. I couldn't stop reading it until the wee hours of the morning. From the very first page, I knew it was Harper Lee. It felt familiar, although things have changed for Scout and the other characters. There are no static characters here. Everyone learns, changes. The novel is bittersweet but breathtaking. There is the same warmth and atmosphere created through the many flashbacks to Jean Louise's childhood. A changed Atticus. Seemingly, a shadow of his former physical self. Jean Louise would like to go home again. But is that ever really possible? Her realizations of her father and others are earth shattering to her. Ultimately, it is she who has to change, in a way, and learn to live in a new world, a new home, with a new perception of her father. Atticus is human after all and Jean Louise must come to grips with that fact. I noticed a couple of facts that I thought were different from Mockingbird. Watchman fleshes out almost everything we wanted to know about Jean Louise and what she has grown to be. Sadly, lost is one character that should still be. And Scout's uncle becomes a voice of reason in her unreasonable world. Jean Louise has flaws; she always did. And those flaws explode in this novel. Surprise! Atticus has flaws; he always did. And his flaws explode in this novel. Jean Louise will be disillusioned with truth. But truth is necessary for one to make good decisions. I found truth and wisdom here. And many of the problems our nation is struggling with today are found here. Ultimately, though, there is love here; the love of a father and daughter, of home. And love always has a hard time dying. I highly recommend this novel.I gave it five stars. And I will probably read it again.
Supermom34 avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 36 more book reviews
It took a while for me to get into the book. Then the philosophical jargon lost me, but I finally finished the book. It definitely was not my favorite read. The story seemed to drag out & I struggled to finish it.
Personally, I didn't like some of the language. In the end the lesson learned by Scout was one that many of us can relate to. Overall...an average read.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 544 more book reviews
Interesting, but it doesn't compare to "To Kill a Mockingbird" in excellence of writing or subtlety. I found it very confusing. Perhaps because it is so dated, I didn't really understand much of the racism angle.
BaileysBooks avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 902 more book reviews
FFor some reason, I have gone all this time without ever having read To Kill a Mockingbird. When my book club selected Go Set A Watchman, I felt that it was high time to correct that oversight. Reading both books back-to-back (and each for the first time) provided me with a great opportunity to directly compare one book against the other.

Now that I have read them both, I can say this with confidence: Watchman is definitely not a "sequel" to Mockingbird. Instead, it is what the critics have claimed it to be all along: a failed first draft. With some serious rewrites and a change in the timeline, the jumbled mess of Watchman was able to turn into a true American classic.

I believe that the only appeal that Watchman provided for me was nostalgia. I identified with the characters only because I knew them so well from Mockingbird. Had I not read Mockingbird first, I wouldn't have cared two hoots about Jem, Calpurnia, or even Atticus himself. In fact, I would have known very little about them at all. The Jean Louise of Watchman was not the endearing Scout of Mockingbird, and I disliked her profusely.

If you are interested in the educational experience of watching an average first draft turn into a masterful final product, then by all means read this book. If you prefer to keep your memories and impressions of Mockingbird untainted by this inferior work, then by all means skip it. There is really very little to miss.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 2 more book reviews
First of all, To Kill a Mockingbird pulls in the reader from the very first page. Go Set a Watchman - I had to make myself finish it. Even the start of the book shows the harshness of the "new" character of Jean Louise. And from the beginning, it's difficult to follow. Jean Louise in one breath acts like she can't stand her beau Henry - then she is calling him pet sweetheart names. And this continues. It is confusing. The endearing nature of Scout - or Jean Louise - is completely gone. She comes across as angry and difficult.

There are also passages that strike me as gratuitous. The long passages about the first date to the dance with Henry, and the resulting actions of the principal; the long passage about Jean Louise's coming of age and naivety about her body and her concerns - those do not come across with the natural humor of the "hot steams" and other humorous parts of To Kill a Mockingbird. They come across as attempts to insert humor that have nothing to do with the actual story.

Furthermore, a great novel does not tell the reader what to think. It shows the reader, through the action. Go Set a Watchman is filled with long passages of Jean Louise arguing: arguing with Henry, arguing with her uncle, Dr. Finch; arguing with Atticus. And in most of the arguments, she is showing off her extensive vocabulary of unflattering swear words. The men try to convince her of their position; she refuses to listen but just swears back at them. This is not a book where the reader follows action by the characters, and then on his own comes to the moral conclusion the author is trying to make.

Very poor. Not at all indicative of Harper Lee's abilities. I frankly am not convinced that Harper Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman. The style is nothing like To Kill A Mockingbird. The depth of writing is much weaker. And would Lee, writing in the 50s, really have presented Scout as a hard-hearted feminist? With such a deep concern for the racial problems of the day? Reading from a 21st century bias, we see many such characters today. But in the 50s, they just did not exist.

Here is a celebrated author, in a nursing home, with no lawyer-sister here any more to defend and protect her interests, and who is not as lucid as she once was. It might be fairly easy to pull off such a hoax.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on
What a disappointment. Doesn't feel like it was written by the same author as To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it includes the same characters, but it lacks the beautiful prose of TKAM. Also lacks a solid plot.
jjares avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 2199 more book reviews
One thing I'm delighted that I did before reading this book was to reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I'd forgotten how beautifully the author had described life in a small Southern town in the 1930s. Now, it is twenty years later and there are new stresses in Maycomb, Alabama.

Scout is now 26-years-of-age and has returned home from New York City (where she lives and works), for a two-week visit. Several of the characters in the previous book are in this novel. However, this novel is about Scout becoming her own person. Throughout her life, Scout has lived in awe of her father, finding him perfect in every way. Now, she has to come to grips with the fact that her father is just a man.

I found this to be an immensely satisfying book; both as a later chapter in the lives of the Finches and as an explanation of some of the relationships in the first book. 4.5 stars

Atticus & Scout Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird
** Go Set a Watchman
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 6 more book reviews
I just couldn't get into this book. I didn't even finish it.
MKSbooklady avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 571 more book reviews
Sad and sorry to say I was disappointed. First, one of the main characters is missing (no spoiler here, it's revealed in the first few pages)-I did enjoy the 'flashbacks'-but found the second half of this book tedious-I liked the character Henry, and where this book could have gone, but was just disappointed. Read it anyway, so you can say you did.
BaileysBooks avatar reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 902 more book reviews
For some reason, I have gone all this time without ever having read To Kill a Mockingbird. When my book club selected Go Set A Watchman, I felt that it was high time to correct that oversight. Reading both books back-to-back (and each for the first time) provided me with a great opportunity to directly compare one book against the other.

Now that I have read them both, I can say this with confidence: Watchman is definitely not a "sequel" to Mockingbird. Instead, it is what the critics have claimed it to be all along: a failed first draft. With some serious rewrites and a change in the timeline, the jumbled mess of Watchman was able to turn into a true American classic.

I believe that the only appeal that Watchman provided for me was nostalgia. I identified with the characters only because I knew them so well from Mockingbird. Had I not read Mockingbird first, I wouldn't have cared two hoots about Jem, Calpurnia, or even Atticus himself. In fact, I would have known very little about them at all. The Jean Louise of Watchman was not the endearing Scout of Mockingbird, and I disliked her profusely.

If you are interested in the educational experience of watching an average first draft turn into a masterful final product, then by all means read this book. If you prefer to keep your memories and impressions of Mockingbird untainted by this inferior work, then by all means skip it. There is really very little to miss.
reviewed Go Set a Watchman on + 84 more book reviews
When I began to read this book I had no idea what was going to take place basically in my own back yard. I live within 20 minutes of Charlotte NC. I was half way through the book when the demonstrations and riots in Charlotte broke out. I had the news on while I read the book. It was very interesting to get the feelings and beliefs from so many sides. So many layers, how have we not. as people, not changed in over 60 years. Why do we let self serving groups take over our lives and thoughts and make a total mess of what little positive gains we have made. The ladies in my group were very split on the book, most did not like Scout and thought she was a bit immature and rigid in her ways. I guess I was lucky to have read it when I did, I gave it the highest score in the club.
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