The time your friends need you is when they’re wrong, Jean Louise. They don’t need you when they’re right.
Title: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
First Published: 2015
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.55)
I would recommend this book to: To Kill a Mockingbird fans – or anyone interested in books on racism.
The Beginning: Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.
I don’t think I’ve ever had this many mixed feelings about reading a book. Learning that an old sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird was to be released, my first thoughts were ‘Oh no, please don’t ruin it’. These thoughts were quickly replaced by delight: more words by Harper Lee can’t possibly be a bad thing? Then I learned that she had initially refused to publish the book, and that’s when I started feeling bad. I had to read this book, but part of me couldn’t help but feeling like a greedy little reader taking advantage on an old woman. I kept going back and forth between thinking that it was wrong to publish this novel as Harper Lee had originally refused, and thinking ‘why on earth wasn’t this one published years ago???”
I am their blood and bones, I have dug in this ground, this is my home. But I am not their blood, the ground doesn’t care who digs it, I am a stranger at a cocktail party.
So, like many other readers around the world, I felt ambivalent turning the first pages. And I kept feeling ambivalent throughout the book, even though I enjoyed reading it. It was quite a very unusual reading experience. I loved reading about Scout. It was like seeing an old friend you hadn’t talked to in years, and then getting the privilege to see her getting disillusioned and grow up.
Blind, that’s what I am. I never opened my eyes. I never thought to look into people’s hearts, I looked only in their faces.
Like, To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel made many good points on racism. I particularly enjoyed the discussions between Scout and Atticus, and the flashbacks were excellent reading. And yet, something was a bit off. The plot (if you can call it that) seemed more suitable for a short story than a novel. Or perhaps it could have been the frame around ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, making the original story one big flashback in a new special edition? But that might me blasphemy …