Monday, July 27, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

Harper Lee is a Big Deal in Alabama...though she is from LA(Lower Alabama) the whole state is very proud of her and her book, To Kill a Mockingbird.  However, when I heard that a new Lee manuscript had been "found" not long after the death of Nelle's older sister, Alice, I thought I smelled a rat.  Alice had been a bulldog in protecting Nelle Harper and her quest for privacy. Harper  Lee is not in great health and I worried that someone had taken advantage of her in her old age.  Her publisher will tell you that she thought the manuscript had been lost and she was very happy to have it published.  She declined to edit it and had it published as it was written. Sorry but this sounds rather like a fairy tale to me. That being said, I am glad it was published because I LOVED this book. So I guess I took advantage of Miss Nelle Harper Lee as well but I did pay for the privilege!!  This book sold more copies that JK Rowling's last Harry Potter novel so that gives you an idea of the country's eagerness to read more about Maycomb, Alabama.

If you go to Good Reads you will find that not everyone liked it..some hated it. Several good friends of mine had given it a five star review so that was good enough for me to head to the store to purchase my own copy!  It is surprising to me that this book was found at just the time our country needs to wake up and smell the coffee so to speak.  In our politically correct society, you must have the same opinion on all matters as the masses or you are a "hater". If you cannot tell, this just drives me CRAZY!! Go Set a Watchman teaches us that you can have differing opinions with others and you can still love and respect them.  Can I get an AMEN?

As the book opens, Scout is now Jean Louise and is headed home to Maycomb to visit her family. After living in NYC, Jean Louise is feeling very self righteous and opinionated as she steps off the train in her old home town. She notices things that bother her and she finds she has moved ahead and left her father and old friend, Henry, behind. Still she tries to enjoy her visit until she finds that Atticus has feet of clay.  For an only daughter who revered her father, this was hard to deal with and causes her much anguish. Her Uncle Jack brings her back to earth with a bang when he tells her that she has confused her father with God.  The book comes to an end as Jean Louise realizes that the people who raised her are worthy of her respect even though they may not see things the same way and indeed may never come to a meeting of the minds.

Along the way Jean Louise shares many stories of her childhood, growing up with Jem, Dill and Jem's friend, Henry.  These stories made me really LOL.  She relates playing revival with Jem and Dill and it brought back many memories of playing "church" with my cousins. In the south, church is the big social function and playing church was common. ( I always wanted to be the piano player! One of my boy cousins was a gifted preacher.)  The south that Harper Lee describes shows the charms and the failings of the south in equal measure.  I will say that I think being a Southerner helps one to understand Go Set A Watchman. The South is a land of story tellers, porch sitters and sweet tea drinkers.  This binds us together in a way that some cannot understand.

I gave this book five stars on Good Reads and I think it may well be my favorite book of 2015. I am sure I will read this book again and I will enjoy it just as much as I did the first time I turned it's pages.


Terri D said...

Thanks for the review! I may have to get this one now!

Julie's Lifestyle said...

Hi Arlene, I'm in the middle of reading the book right now. I found it slow going and I'm a little more than half done with it. I enjoyed your review of the book. Have a wonderful week.
Julie xo

doodles n daydreams said...

I'm looking forward to reading this, To Kill a Mocking Bird is one of my favourite books. Thanks for your review. I don't think we have it at our local library but no doubt soon will have.


Arlene said...

Terri, I just loaned my copy to a friend. We mark the passages we like as we read. It is fun to go back and see what stood out to my besties. Julie, I think there really is a Southern thought process in this book.Diana, I will be interested to find out what a New Zealander thinks of this book. Marvin and I are going to stop in and visit Monroeville( Lee's home town) on our way to the beach in September.

Mari said...

I've been hearing a lot about this book and was wondering if I should read it. Thanks for the review - I think I need to check it out!

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Hi Arlene, thanks for the review. I've been thinking about reading this one too. I loved to Kill A Mockingbird.
Have a nice day. cm

Arlene said...

Celestina, if you loved TKAM, I think you will like this one as well. is not everyone's cup of tea as evidenced by Good Reads but I think it is worth a try. I have a 50 page rule myself. I read 50 pages and if the story does not pull me in or it is a chore to read the book, I am done. So many books, So little time.:)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You did a great review and now I would like to read it too! Thanks! Hugs, Diane