Now that my dissertation is over I can get back into reading and try and complete the 2016 Reading Challenge! Yay! I’ve just finished reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee and here’s what I thought.
Go Set A Watchman revisits Scout – now referred to as Jean Louise – who is on her annual two-week visit home to Maycomb County. During her stay, she finds out that everything she ever knew is not what it seems, sending her on a path of destruction. Like Scout (I can’t call her Jean Louise, it feels wrong) I find change difficult to cope with as I struggled with the changes to the major characters in the sequel. Of course, people change and it’s impossible to stay the same forever but when you get attached to certain characters, it’s difficult to get over that!
Compared to To Kill A Mockingbird – the novel that Go Set A Watchman is the sequel too – I found the sequel much harder to get into. As the book went on, I did get more into it but I found the beginning to be very slow.
It was good to see that Scout hadn’t changed very much, she’s still the rebellious girl she always was. I find Scout to be an inspiring character, especially for the time period she was written in through her refusing to get married just yet, intentionally doing things to irritate her aunty and fiercely believing in what she felt was right regardless of what other people tell her.
Some of the people featured in the book I didn’t remember being in To Kill A Mockingbird so I found that to be slightly confusing. I also felt a little let down that the major characters from the first book were only briefly mentioned in Go Set A Watchman such as Dill and Jem. Jem’s death felt a little like a cop out, I wanted to see more of Jem and Scout together as I loved their dynamic in To Kill A Mockingbird. However upon researching the two books I found that Go Set A Watchman was the original first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird.
The ending was my favourite part as it held a really strong message. Although our parents raise us and we are influenced by their beliefs and decisions, we are our own person so it’s perfectly normal to have a clash of opinions, as Scout and her father Atticus do.
For the Reading Challenge, I’m going to put Go Set A Watchman under ‘a book with a character that is similar to you’ because of the element of change that Scout struggles with.