"" Writer's Wanderings: Books For The Road - Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Monday, March 07, 2016

Books For The Road - Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

As I was browsing through possible books for reading, I came across Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee and realized I hadn't put that on my reading list yet. I downloaded it to my Kindle and then was surprised to hear that the next day Harper Lee had passed away. I have read Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields and knew that To Kill A Mockingbird was the one novel that she'd written and published. A while later the Watchman book came out.

It is said that Watchmen is possibly a rough draft of the Mockingbird or one that was written first and then discarded for the Mockingbird. It is a lot more caustic as far as the racial overtones go. There is still a lot of the old lovable Scout there but she is all grown up now and upon her return home is horrified to discover that Atticus is not the man she had built him up to be.

The last half of the book is quite a look into some of the attitudes of the South as they were learning to adjust to the new freedoms of the black population. I think it's set in the very early sixties and just before or just as the marches were beginning and integration was a hard reality for a culture that had been separated for so long by the color of a person's skin.

Nothing is solved really in the book as far as racial attitudes go but then nothing is really solved today although I would hope we are a little further along.  Scout's Uncle Jack tells her, "Every man's watchman is his conscience." Like Jean Louise, I too don't understand. Why do we still have those racial lines?

A book for the road? Yes, if you want to be challenged a bit. Be aware, you may be a bit offended as well but Lee does a decent job of presenting the opinions of the times. I'm really glad though that it evolved into the Mockingbird story. I like the showing of the story better than the telling.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...