Go Set A Watchman

Go Set A Watchman

Large Print - 2015 | First HarperLuxe edition.
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From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize--winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.

Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.

Publisher: New York, NY :, HarperLuxe,, [2015]
Edition: First HarperLuxe edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780062409881
Characteristics: 341 pages


From the critics

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Mar 29, 2019

i read this book to fulfil the goal read a book that was written posthumously. i enjoyed visiting with familier characters, but i didn't find it as good as the first one. i espiscally liked the flashbacks of her childhood.

Mar 08, 2019

(Warning: contains spoilers) This sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was actually written first, and on p. 109 it gives a quite different version of the trial central to her masterpiece. Mayella Ewell, the white woman Tom Robinson was accused of raping, is an unnamed 14-year-old, and Atticus secures an acquittal. The funny story about the Cunninghams and the Conninghams in Maycomb (p.44-45) also appears in TKAMB. It probably would have been removed from the novel if Lee had been healthy enough to revise her manuscript. While TKAMB is told by Scout the child in the first person, the sequel is mostly told in the third person, but always dealing with Jean Louise’s experiences. Sometimes Lee lapses into first person narration, as if she had mixed feelings about her choice. It is a pity in a sense that she didn’t rewrite the book in the first person, like TKAMB. The NYT reviewer said the book revealed Atticus Finch as a white supremacist, the Guardian as a racist. It seems to me neither description is really fair to Atticus’s views as Lee depicts them. He is opposed, as is his daughter, to the Supreme Court decision on desegregation and is willing to make alliances with white racists to oppose the changes it is likely to bring. He has a much too conservative view of how fast the South can change to ensure racial equality. This is what puts off his daughter, Jean Louise, who wears her colour-blindness on her sleeve. Calpurnia, who was practically a mother to Scout in TKAMB, only has one meeting with Jean Louise, when she asks her “What are you all doing to us?” Oddly enough, this book set in the mid-1950s as Alabama desegregated, presents a bleaker view of race relations than its predecessor set in the 1930s. It’s a shame that the book never received the same loving attention of an editor that TKAMB did, but it is well worth reading just the same.

Jan 25, 2019

I am giving this two and a half stars purely out of loyalty to Harper Lee. This served as a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird and should be recognized as such as it was never intended for publication. Like everyone else, I hate Atticus's character in this book and am very glad she changed his character's development. For those who feel betrayed, Lee has done her job; Scout, the reader's moral compass, feels betrayed and that her innocence has been ripped away. This reflects the reader's experience, so this feeling of betrayal is cathartic once he or she recognize that a person's personality can vary in drastic directions; this is the case for Atticus and produces a far more realistic and accessible character than present in Mockingbird. Now, as to the plot, it is forgettable and not at all life-changing like Mockingbird. The switching between child and adult Scout was disorientating; child Scout is amusing, fiery, and engaging, while adult Scout is jaded, bitter, and bland so it is no wonder as to why Lee's editor told her to focus on child Scout exclusively. If not for its relation to a classic I adore, I would not pick up this book.

Nov 11, 2018

Loved this book by Harper Lee even more than To Kill a Mockingbird because the beloved characters were more human. Scout had to grow up and face the reality of her family, community, Calpurnia and her father. Her uncle's reaction to her anger about Atticus sobered her and she changed her perspective. Her conflicts about her family made her stronger and she could still accept them and live her life. Her choices would forever be colored by them.

Sep 23, 2018

What a joy to be reading something by Harper Lee again; I am reminded of the composer Erik Satie's "Gnossienne" and "Gymnopedie" pieces and the observation someone made that they are like going around a statue, taking in all the nuances of the work. Worthwhile reading and discussing.

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.

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 nowhere 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.

Jan 07, 2018

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s controversially published sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Jean Louise’s hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. The novel takes place some ten to fifteen years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel thoroughly describes the rising tensions going on in the Southern United States during the buildup to the Civil Rights Movement. Jean Louise finds out a disturbing fact about her father, Atticus, a secret about her father that she would have never expected from a man of justice that cares not for the colour of one’s skin but the practice of law. This novel may not be suitable for those who take offence to derogatory language to African Americans. In all, I rate Go Set a Watchman 5 out of 5. @BookmarkTwain of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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

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".

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.

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Add a Quote
Feb 08, 2019

"I guess it's like an airplane: they're the drag and we're the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we're nose heavy, too much of them and we're tail heavy - it's a matter of balance. I can't beat him, I can't join him"

Feb 08, 2019

"... the time your friends need you is when they're wrong, Jean Louise. They don't need you when they're right."

Feb 08, 2019

"Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends."

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?

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—”

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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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Jan 25, 2019

KWhite190 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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

Aug 13, 2015

blue_dolphin_4400 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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