I promised you that I would write a review of Harper Lee’s “new” book. Now, after waiting for other people at my library to read it and reading it myself, here’s my review. All I can say, this book…
Let’s start at the beginning. Harper Lee’s agent found the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman, a book she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird and it got rejected. Apparently she had the manuscript tucked away somewhere and she agreed for it to be published. Like many people, I decided to read Mockingbird before I read this book.
In this book Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, now an adult, returns to Maycomb County Alabama after living in New York for years now. While there, she sees that everything she remembers has changed. The biggest thing is Atticus, the dad she looked up to as a kid, shows a new side of him that Scout hates.
I’m just going to spoil the big thing right: Scout suspects that Atticus is a racist and she wants to know the truth. That’s the entire plot of the book people. You’d think it was a romance between Scout and Henry, but it’s a simple subplot designed as a plot that appears a hundred pages into the book.
If you want to know, yes, Atticus admits that he is racist.
A lot of fans were outraged at this revelation. They cried foul because this one man who comes across as a caring father and someone who will and has defended black people. Here’s the thing: Atticus being racist is not a shocker.
Let me explain. Here’s a man who grew up in the Deep South during the beginning of the 20th century. The Civil Liberties movement didn’t get serious until the sixties. He’s a product of his time. The only reason he defended a black man is because this is what he felt was right in accordance to the law. Mockingbird made it seem like he did out of the kindness of his heart, but instead it was because he felt he had a compelling case.
Now for the rest of the book. Here’s the synopses: Scout returns to Maycomb, she sees everything is different, she finds out her dad is at a meeting where a racist is giving a speech, she asks Atticus if he is racist, she flips out and leaves when he says yes, her uncle tells her that he’s her dad and he’s a nice person, she goes to his office and says she loves him.
That’s exactly what happens in 278 pages.
I thought Mockingbird was boring, this is worse. It started out interesting but came to a crawl after thirty pages. The only interesting that happens is when Scout thinks Atticus is racist. That could’ve been done in sixty pages instead of 178. Hell, look at other reviews of the book and you’ll see that even people who LOVE Mockingbird hate this book.
In all, I could’ve lived my whole life without ever reading this book. Many fans said the exact same thing. It hurts to say this, but you’re better off reading Mockingbird instead of this. This book just comes across as a cash cow that was rejected for good reason.