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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Patty Pick for 9/10/15 is "Go Set A Watchman" by Harper Lee

This new book by Harper Lee, Go Set A Watchmanhas been surrounded by controversy since it was found by her longtime lawyer in a safety deposit box. Through an interview, Harper Lee stated she had actually written this book first, before To Kill A Mockingbird.  Her editor told her to go back and write something with Scout as a younger girl and we are all the richer for what followed. 

In  To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout is 6-9 years old but in 
Go Set A WatchmanScout is now 26. She is looking at the world and the past from a different perspective. Scout still has her fresh, brave outlook 
on life but she has been effected by death and the events that happened after we left her in TKAM. 

While making a visit home to see her family during the mid 1950's, Scout is faced with a changing Maycomb and the world around her exploding with racial tension. Scout still adheres to the some of the town's expected norms but chooses to ignore what she wants to. As she attends church with her family, we catch a hint of the title's meaning when the new minister, Mr. Stone, opens his bible to read. He reads from Isaiah 21:6 - "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth." What we see, is an independent, intelligent young woman struggling to find her place in the world but not afraid to push her limits! Scout, our watchman, leads us through what has happened in the interim and we get to meet new characters like her sometimes boyfriend, Hank Clinton.   

I know everyone is up in arms over the rumors they have heard about Atticus and what type of person he has turned into during this book. He is aging and struggling with his health. As an old man in a changing world - he is uncertain to what is happening around him. Scout reiterates in GSAW, that whatever decision she makes in life,she asks herself, "What would Atticus do?" That will hold true through this entire story.

We are lucky enough to meet new characters and find out what has been happening to old characters. Go Set a Watchman definitely reads as a first novel, much more than TKAM. The world, all most 20 years after we first meet Scout, has changed radically. Maycomb and many of it's citizens are struggling to figure out what is the right direction to take. There will be parts you don't like and parts you love, but don't miss it. You need to read this for yourself. And you will love Scout, she always has an opinion and she will let you will know what it is.