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GO SET A WATCHMAN, A NOVEL

Author: Harper Lee

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Publisher: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2015

Material: hard cover

Summary: Jean Louise Finch (26), known to everyone as Scout, returns to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. She has come back to take care of her aging father, Atticus Finch. Scout looks forward to coming home, but there is a damper to her homecoming. Maycomb has changed, and she discovers truths that she had never noticed as a child. She is different and the town is different. The townspeople - including her father - are even more changed. This is the sequel to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 13 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 14 and Up

Reading Level: 5.9

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: I had high expectations for this book. I loved To Kill A Mockingbird. It was funny, heartwarming, and so realistic. The characters were also real, likable, and honest. The town and people were so vivid. This sequel has none of that. Aside from its beautiful blue-and-gold cover, Go Set A Watchman was far from satisfactory. Many of the characters are either gone, not mentioned, dead, or drastically and uncharacteristically changed. Beloved Jem, Scout’s older brother, died from a sudden heart attack. Their childhood friend Dill is in Italy. Scout and all of Maycomb seem to have forgotten Boo Radley, who played a huge role in To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus has strange, twisted views on race. Scout, who no longer goes by her nickname, is not the impulsive tomboy of her past.

There was no plot. Trouble arises out of the blue. This Maycomb is a pale ghost compared to the past. The only thing I liked was the frequent flashbacks to Scout’s childhood. There, I saw a bit of the Maycomb life from To Kill A Mockingbird. I don't recommend this book for anyone. It taints the memory of To Kill A Mockingbird. If you DO choose to read it, it is suitable possibly for mature middle school students, but mostly for for high school students and older.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: For those who wonder "what happened to ..." To Set a Watchman can satisfy some of that curiosity left over after reading To Kill a Mockingbird.

Cons: The story does not pack the same power as To Kill a Mockingbird.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.

If You Liked This Book, Try: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery; The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger; Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya SPIES OF MISSISSIPPI, The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement   NIGHTINGALE'S NEST   ONE CRAZY SUMMER

Educational Themes: This is a book to read after reading To Kill a Mockingbird. There are many conversation threads related to the characters and change (this is set in the 1960s), as well as contrasting the two books themselves.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - historical fiction, middle grade, 1960s

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.




                 

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