“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

24817626It is the 1950s. Scout is now away, living in New York City on her own. She is a grown up woman of twenty something. She returns to Maycomb for two weeks to see Atticus, her father, and aunt Alexandra. There is also Hank waiting for her, an old friend of Jem and hers, an orphan that Atticus cares about and works with at his office. Atticus has bonded with Hank a lot, especially after he lost Jem and his ability to fully function on his own. Atticus is getting old.

Jean Louis remains that little girl in the heart. She thinks of her father as a God, a person that makes right for all, someone who never makes mistakes. Yet the time has changed and people need to adapt. In New York she sits and eats next to black people. They are considered somewhat equal to whites in the North. That’s not yet the case in the South. It takes time until past habits are forgotten and new ones get in place.

Jean Louis seems not to understand that. She expects that the change is the same everywhere. She cannot think there is a different pace there. Until an incident happens. Calpurnia’s grandson hits someone with his father’s car. The man is a white drunken and he is dead. Her father’s reaction is not the expected one. He will defend him but not because he is innocent or because he is black. He will do so, so as the ravens waiting for such a case will not get their mistrial. As Jean Louis goes to see Calpurnia she realizes the old woman stands cold in front of her. Something has changed or was it always like this?

Things change radically. There are always people who try to get advantage of these situations. Fast changes are not easy to be followed by all. We need to be patient and adapt and give space where needed. We must protect those we can and get on a smooth transition if possible. Above and beyond all we must be humans.

I’m afraid there is no comparison to “To Kill A Mockingbird” which is a masterpiece. Go set a watchman makes a good effort but not enough to reach its level. The messages are still there, but not come so natural to the reader, I’m afraid…

Go Set a Watchman
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