To Read or Not To Read: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

Back when Harper Lee announced her new book, Go Set a Watchman, this blog talked about the controversies around the release of the book and the common fears (and failures) that came with sequels released so long from the original work.

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What we mainly focused on was how this shouldn’t be the case for Go Set a Watchman because, according to Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman was actually the original book she tried to get published, only to have her publisher say something like “Hey, I dig these characters, and I’d like to hear about the girl’s life growing up.” This statement is what drove Harper Lee to write the prequel to Go Set a Watchman, To Kill a Mockingbird.

The book has been out for a total of six days, and the controversy around the timing of the release has not died down yet, but another controversy has popped up.

It seems that everyone’s favorite lawyer and father, Atticus Finch, comes off as a racist.

For some, this is a big surprise.

For others, this revelation actually wasn’t all that surprising.

And, honestly, all of these controversies don’t seem to be hurting book sales.

But, here’s the question: Is the book worth the read? As in, is it any good?

Overall, if the controversies surrounding this book have you confused, you can always check out the first chapter thanks to The Guardian and see if the book is for you. If you’re okay with facing racism, if you’re not put off by characters growing and changing in ways you didn’t quiet expect, if you’re just curious to see who Scout grew up to be, then Go Set a Watchman is the summer read for you.

Amanda Riggle

Amanda Riggle

Amanda is the Managing Editor at The Poetics Project and of The Socialist, the national magazine of The Socialist Party USA, as well as the Lead Editor of Pomona Valley Review's upcoming 11th issue. She graduated with a BA in English Education and a minor in Political Science. She is currently enrolled in an English MA program with an emphasis in Literature. During her free time, Amanda enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling, crocheting, watching entire seasons of campy shows on Netflix, and, of course, writing blogs.
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      ThePandaBard

      Great review! I’m sure this will help people on the fence about reading the book hop on over to the other side. It is hard to see heroes fall and become real people, but that is all a hero truly is – a person. Knowing that even a hero has flaws doesn’t lessen those that we hold in high esteem; rather, it lets us understand that to be human, and even a great and decent human most of the time, doesn’t mean we can’t be flawed.

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