I finished reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee last night and I wanted to bring myself to a place where I could leave a thorough, well thought out review letting you all know why I disliked it. Maybe I’m too tired still. Maybe I’m just salty. Maybe I’ve lost what little skill I had for reviewing (tiny things are easy to misplace). I think I have simply read way too many disappointing books in a row and this, the biggest disappointment of them all, has left me speechless.
That is a lie of course. I had many words to say about it last night. I raved to my boyfriend in a semi-organized one sided shouting match. Many harsh words were spoken in the quiet of my living room last night, and poor Tom he just sat there while i hurled “Unfit” “Terrible” “spat in the face of-” “Racist” “Let down” and so on and so forth until I simply tired myself out and went to sleep. I am much too passionate about somethings it would seem.
Here’s a selection from Facebook; please don’t judge me too harshly, I am my best in person, on paper I can be irrational.
Now YES, I know that it is an unfinished manuscript, that it was basically the first go at To Kill a Mockingbird. This I understand and accept to a point. I would have gladly read an unfinished precursor to one of my favorite books but Go Set a Watchman was published as a finished novel. I read books knowing little about them, i want to go in blind and innocent, with no expectations. This I did. So yes, I shouldn’t complain about how terribly under-edited the novel is but it says “A Novel” on the front and I, like any other random reader in the world, should be comfortable expecting “a novel” between those covers, not dirt.
Okay, Tarina, but what did you dislike about the story?
Much and more. I felt it seemed almost like Harper Lee fan fiction than anything else. It was jumpy, the story made little sense to me until the end and even then I was left wondering what I’d just read. I hate to do this but I’m going to link to a review that I think puts all of my feelings into words better than i ever could. As you know I’m terrible at expressing my feelings in type.
Was there ANYTHING you liked about the book?
Yes. One thing and one thing only. In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch is perfect. He is Scouts idol; in Watchman it’s said he became her God. This book broke that; Atticus is no longer God, Atticus is no longer perfection personified. Atticus is a human man.
NOW DON’T GET ME WRONG! I see nothing wrong with how Atticus is portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact it’s one of the things i love about that book. I think Harper Lee does a fantastic job writing childhood and a father in his daughters eyes IS God. I was raised by a single father and my father was Superman. The day i realized he wasn’t I vomited, much like Jean Louise did.
But Scout at 9 and Jean Louise at 26 are two different women and the story of realizing your God is just a man is one I’d love to read. I would probably sob like a damn baby reading it but I’d enjoy every moment. This story, though, is not that story. it has elements of that story. I think somewhere in it’s schizophrenic search for a purpose it tried to be that story. That trying is the one thing I enjoyed about Go Set a Watchman.
Book 33 of 36: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
- 1- Don’t Read
- 2- It’s Good
- 3- Read
- 4- Highly Recommend
- 5- Must Read
I see no reason to ever pick up this book and i will say nothing further on the subject.