Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.Spoilers ahead!
In this review what I'm mostly going to address are the claims that Atticus is racist in Go Set a Watchman. I can kind of see that point but only kind of. Basically, there was a movement for a second reconstruction and knowing how horribly the first one went, Atticus was against it. He wasn't being racist or against black people getting their rights so much as he was against the horrors of what the last reconstruction was and didn't want it to happen again. I don't know if there was a right way to do the reconstruction but what they did the first time didn't work and it looked as if they were trying the same methods for the second one. I'm going to grant here that I'm not the greatest on my War Between the States and reconstruction history but I have striven to learn what I can.
So I agree with Atticus for the most part and I agree with Scout, who's shocked by Atticus's views, for the most part too. I would say that for the reconstruction to be successful it would probably have to be at a much slower rate. It was a very complicated situation. Please understand I'm not racist in the least.
Now characters. The main ones made it back for the most part. Atticus, Scout, her aunt Alexandra and uncle Jack. Jem died a few years ago (ahhhhhh!!!!!!). Dill is only briefly mentioned. :( Scout has a boyfriend Hank that she's been friends with since childhood but I don't honestly remember if he's in TKM or not. The Tom Robinson case is only briefly mentioned and then it's to say that it was a case that Atticus won! So obviously Harper Lee decided to go for a change in TKM and the editors decided not to change the manuscript with GSW. Also, Bo is never mentioned at all. :( Uncle Jack is one of my favorite characters and in GSW when he says the War wasn't about slavery it was about states rights I wanted to cheer! :) Thank you Uncle Jack! There's many sweet flashback scenes with Scout growing up. Some of them made me laugh so hard... especially the one where she thought she was pregnant. :) I'm not sure Scout ever truly did grow up... something that is alluded to at several points in GSW. In so many ways I sympathize with her though. I never did want to grow up and I still find myself at this awkward point of being a "grown up" but not quite wanting to be yet.
I only read this book two days ago so these are kind of my gut reactions. I also read it in just under two hours. I'm kind of proud of that. :) However, because of that I probably missed bits here and there.
So all in all I liked Go Set a Watchman but it was no To Kill a Mockingbird. :)
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