Book Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

gosetawatchmanTitle: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Genre: Adult Fiction

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most influential books I read in high school. While I was reading it, I was also teaching it to a younger grade level as part of my English project. Now that I am a teacher, I can look back on that experience and realize that it definitely played a factor in where I am today.

When I found out that a novel featuring the same characters was going to be released, I jumped for joy. I’m sure I annoyed my mother will my excitement. I wanted to buy it on its release date, but I hadn’t yet found a job and needed to save as much money as I possibly could. Then, the waiting list at the library was ten miles long. When I finally got my hands on a copy, I felt like Gollum with the Ring.

Premise: 4/5

This novel was originally turned down by publishers. Lee wrote this novel before her iconic novel. Some people, after reading, believe that the publishers had been right all those years ago, but I’m really glad this novel was published. Jean Louise, or “Scout,” has grown up and returns home to visit her father, Atticus. While she’s home, she is brought back into those childhood memories we loved so much from To Kill a Mockingbird. As she is thrust back into her childhood, she sees the people her loved ones have become and questions everything.

Plot Development: 3/5

As I started reading this, I had no idea where it was headed. I’d only heard the hype from when it was released and I knew bits and pieces about the current Atticus, but I still didn’t know what the plot was going to be. Actually, I didn’t figure it out until the book was almost over. So even though it was a found manuscript that was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, it almost read like a fan’s companion story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I understand why a lot of people did not.

There was very little plot, but it was written in such a way that it didn’t matter to me.

Characterization: 4/5

We see a whole new side to almost every character that is recognized from the iconic book. It’s done really well and we see some of the development through flashbacks. I loved seeing the changes in personalities and they made sense. Lee did a fantastic job of taking this original work and then taking it back twenty years to their younger selves to write such a brilliant novel. I love these characters.

Writing Style: 5/5

Even though this seemed to be a book about nothing, it read so easily due to the writing style. Lee added the right amount of humor into the flashbacks; she wrote this so well that I was happy to read about things that I felt didn’t advance the plot.

Readability: 5/5

This goes along with the above category, but this novel read really well. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It was easy to read, even when learning about something less than desirable about a beloved character.

Total Score: 21/25, avg. 4.2/5

This was a very weird review because a lot of the stuff I talked about would typically make a book less enjoyable for me, but as To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, I’m a little biased. It was a lot of fun to revisit Scout and the gang. While I was there was more substance, I enjoyed this novel very much. 4/5 stars!

4 stars

I read this book for the #sixsquaredchallenge hosted by bookstacksamber! – Goodreads Choice Winners


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Want to purchase a copy of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.


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