Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee – Reviewed by Guy Portman
26-year-old Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch has returned home to Maycomb, Alabama for a visit. There she is reunited with the people that moulded her formative years. These include her father Atticus, Uncle Jack, Aunt Alexandra, and suitor and childhood sweetheart Hank.
Scout doesn’t like everything she sees in Maycomb, a town where racial divisions persist. This causes a degree of tension between her and Atticus. She also experiences vivid memories from childhood, which entail pranks and various other escapades. A near constant feature of these is Scout’s dead brother Jem.
Set in the 1950s, Go Set A Watchman is essentially about a young woman maturing mentally, and very little else. Unfavourable comparisons have and will continue to be made to the author’s seminal work, To Kill A Mockingbird.
This reader did not appreciate the didactic, tomboy protagonist, and he soon grew weary of the endless reminiscing and esoteric discourses on politics and race relations. He is now acutely aware of why Harper Lee resisted publishing this sequel for so many decades.