Like many of you, I could hardly wait for July 14th. Harper Lee’s companion to To Kill a Mockingbird was going to be released and I was determined to have my own copy. I pre-ordered Go Set a Watchman and anxiously awaited for it to be delivered. When it finally arrived, it sat beside my bed for almost a week before I finally opened it. I hadn’t read any reviews, but I had heard the rumors and couldn’t bring myself to see the worst in one of my favorite literary characters.
Now that I have finished the book, I have a few thoughts. Atticus Finch is not the man we thought we knew, but one could argue if we can ever really know anyone completely. One of my favorite lines in Go Set a Watchman is when Uncle Jack is trying to reason with Scout. He tells her “you confused your father with God. You never saw him as a man with a man’s heart, and a man’s failings—I’ll grant you it may have been hard to see, he makes so few mistakes, but he makes ’em like all of us.”
I think many of us may have been confused, as well. It’s hard to see the flaws in people (or characters) that we believe in so deeply. However, it reminds us that we can all strive for greatness, but shouldn’t judge ourselves or others too harshly in our shortcomings.
I was also hoping to see a more mature Jean Louise Finch. Not even close. The book takes place 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird ends and her character doesn’t seemed to have changed at all. This is not realistic in my opinion. People change every day…especially after 20 years. I almost abandoned the book several times because of this fact. I made myself finish because I wanted closure.
I think Go Set a Watchman adds depth to the To Kill a Mockingbird story and gives us some timely topics to discuss. However, I don’t see it leaving my shelf any time soon…unless someone else wants to read it.