Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

Sequel slowly begins, ends with gripping uncertainty

Everyone has a watchman. It’s something like a conscious, and sometimes it just needs a little waking up. Sometimes the real world is an alarm clock.

This is something Jean Louise Finch–or, Scout–learns in the sequel of “To Kill a Mocking Bird.”

Let me be entirely honest with you though. I hated “To Kill a Mocking Bird.” I found it dull and boring; this book was just another thing I had to read for class.

That was how “Go Set a Watchmen” began and proceeded for the next hundred pages. I had to drag myself through the pages just to get through it. Sometimes, I could only get through a few pages at a time because I was so bored and I couldn’t stand myself.

In a short spoiler-free summary, Scout finally goes home to see that home isn’t quite how she left it. And aside from the fact that Jem is dead–not much of a spoiler surprisingly–and Calpurnia is no longer working for Atticus.

None of the interactions seemed to be written for any purpose other than to show just how out of place Scout was and how awkward her conversations were. Now I understand there was a purpose for it. I just wish it was made clear a few hundred pages earlier when I was wondering who Hank was and why Scout had to talk to so many people she couldn’t stand.

Finally, a good hundred and some pages in, action finally came to the scene. The cause? Scout realized racists surrounded her. Unlike them, she is “color blind’, so the real world of racism came as a shock to her. Scout reflects and soul searches in Maycomb, Ala.

If I said anymore on the plot, I’d end up spoiling the entire book for you. I couldn’t do that. So let me give you some thoughts on the book itself instead.

As I said before, the beginning was annoyingly slow. I had to slog through the words just to make any headway in the story. Yet when the action came in and the real purpose of this book came to view, I was hooked. Just like a fish avoiding the lure for so long, I finally took the bait and took the plunge. I couldn’t stop reading!

I finally saw a reason for Scout’s interactions with Atticus, her uncle and even Hank. They made sense and all the relationships, in my opinion, had a satisfying end. Scout had a voice and she let her stance be known.

However, if I said the boring first half was the only thing that bugged me about this story, I’d be lying. As this is meant to be a sequel, I found it terribly disappointing that Jem is no more than a memory and Calpurnia is nearly pushed out of the story to stay in her little black neighborhood.

I also wanted more closure. For a story that had me hooked, I wanted more–much more–after I hit the end. I needed to know what Scout did from the end on. I wanted to know more about her life. I just wanted more, though I doubt we’ll get another sequel.

I’m not surprised nearly everyone around campus was telling me to give this book a read. If you can manage to get past the first half, the rest of the story is enough of a reason to make it worth the read.