Saturday, September 26, 2015

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee

I liked this book.  I know, the literature critics didn't and I have to agree with them, it is not well written, or more accurately, it doesn't feel like it was edited closely.  That said, it is another viewpoint on the Finch family, from all accounts, the original approach taken by Lee.  It reads like a young woman rejecting her upbringing, her eyes opened by living in New York, and realizing the very human flaws in her adored father.  I felt the book might have been "closer to the bone" for the author than To Kill A Mockingbird.

It took a while to get into the story and the initial relationship of Jean Louise and her family and boyfriend seemed to bog down.  I liked this quote about family relationships, she doesn't get along with her Aunt:
"...they had never been able to sustain fifteen minutes' conversation with one another without advancing irreconcilable points of view, invigorating in friendships, but in close blood relations producing only uneasy cordiality."

It's over half way through the book before the crisis of the story is revealed.  The story proceeds much quicker from that point as Jean Louise moves on to become  her own person.  She comes to see her father as a human being rather than a hero.  Her Uncle explains to her how her father and her are different:
"'ve a bigot.  ...'One obstinately or intolerably devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion'.  What does a bigot do when he meets someone who challenges his opinions?  He doesn't give.  He stays rigid.  Doesn't even try to listen, just lashes out. You turned and ran. ...You said, in effect, 'I don't like the way these people do, so I have no time for them.'  You'd better take time for 'em, honey, otherwise you'll never grow."
As the back jacket states "Every man's island, Jean Louise, every man's watchman, is his conscience.".

Worth reading no matter how high the pedestal we've put Harper Lee on.

Published: 2015  Read: September 2015  Genre: Fiction

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