Sunday, December 25, 2016

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee (Spoilers)

Hoo boy, readers, where do I start with this book.

This book reads like some kind of half-baked first draft of a sequel. There are passages that are lifted directly, word for word, from To Kill A Mockingbird (TKAM). There are also many things that seem to contradict TKAM, such as:

-At one point, Jean Louise says, "no one in my family had ever used [the N word]." However, she herself used it several times and was specifically told not to use it during TKAM. To be fair, she wasn't hurling it at people as an insult, she was simply using it to describe black people, but she was still using it.

-In this book, Francis is described as Aunt Alexandra's son, but in TKAM he is her grandson.

-In this book, the Finch Landing house hasn't been lived in, but Aunt Alexandra was living there in TKAM.

This of course doesn't even touch the meat of the book, which is supposedly this: Jean Louise (Scout) has to grow up and realize her daddy is actually a human being and not a perfect paragon of virtue. Um, OK - but was it necessary to devote the bulk of the book to making Atticus Finch a racist and segregationist screeching about "state's rights" after spending so much of TKAM assuring the readers he is a fair minded man? Was it necessary to make nasty remark after nasty remark about the NAACP? In today's world, do we need one more lengthy diatribe about how "the wicked northerners are invading the south and imposing their icky nonsense like 'integration' when it should be up to the states and not the nasty overreaching federal government, because, after all, the black people [insert your own nasty epithet here] just can't help being inferior" (to paraphrase many many many speeches in the book)???? Strangely enough, I can turn on my TV and hear pretty much an identical speech on any day, and it's no less disgusting!!

But the most disturbing part of the book has to be when Scout has a talk with Uncle Jack, who was a seriously cool guy in TKAM, and decides that her thinking that her father is a racist is actually worse than racism itself. SIGH.

All in all, I feel like I read some kind of tired and poorly written "alt-r1ght" parody of TKAM and not a sequel to a Pulitzer Prize winning book. Don't waste your time unless this sounds like something you might be interested in.

Sorry all, I have just about had it with racism these days. I'm fed up with it and I'm tired of being told I have to respect racism and bigotry in all its forms. I am for inclusion and education, so that is what I will continue to try to do with this blog - to read so as to learn and open my mind as well as to be entertained. I will "set a watchman" here and do my best to uphold what I think is right and fair and just. Sadly, this book does not make the grade. NOT recommended.

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