Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Publisher - Harper
Publish Date - July 2015
Genre - Fiction
Buy on Amazon

My Rating:

As an avid reader and lover of literature from a young age, I couldn’t help but get swept up in the excitement when it was announced that Harper Lee was publishing a new book. Not only a new book, but one that picks up with the iconic characters of To Kill a Mockingbird as adults. While this review may be coming a bit late, I did not waste any time snatching this book up to read once it was released.

Go Set a Watchman takes us back to Maycomb, Alabama with Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. She travels back to her hometown for 2 weeks each year to visit her father, Atticus. Upon her return to Maycomb, she is met by her childhood sweetheart, Hank who now works for her father. The novel takes place during a time in history when the creation of the NAACP and the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision are sources of controversy, especially in the small Alabama town.

After Jean Louise finds a controversial pamphlet among her father’s belongings, she follows him to a council meeting where he introduces a speaker that gives a racially charged speech to the audience. Upon seeing this, she is convinced that her father has lied to her about his beliefs all along and has abandoned everything she was raised to believe. The story spirals from there as Jean Louise tries to come to grips with the confusing political positions her father attempts to explain but she never backs down. The entire scandal rocks Jean Louise’s world and forces her to view things in a way that she never had to before.

As with her first book, there was a lot of criticism and scandal surrounding Go Set a Watchman because of the serious racist undertones suggested throughout the novel. I think what was lost during the publication of this novel was the fact that Lee actually wrote this novel BEFORE To Kill a Mockingbird. It is now most widely regarded as not a sequel to her famed novel but rather a first draft. If you view it from that perspective, it is really quite fascinating to see her “final product” as To Kill a Mockingbird.

This was not a newly written book from the perspective of a 21st century Harper Lee. So, while the tone and language in the book may be difficult for 21st century readers, you have to understand that this is a novel written about a time and during a time in American history where racial tensions ran extremely high. Lee sought to be realistic about the situation America faced in the 1950’s, she did not seek to sugar coat or stroke the Politically Correct ego that plagues our society today. Rather, she tried to emulate the difficulty of navigating that world and explain what the unfortunate circumstances could be should you (as a white person) stand up for the equal rights of your colored neighbors.

This is a great go-to, medium-bodied wine that is berry forward with a hint of spice. You'll want something to keep you composed during this novel and this Zin will do it.

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