Harper Lee’s “Go Set A Watchman” — You Have No Choice But To Read It.
It is certainly NOT “Mockingbird“, but it is ‘OK’! And I guess just saying that says it all: ‘OK’. Has a discerning reader ever described “To Kill A Mockingbird” as just ‘OK’?
It is not as taught and dramatic as “Mockingbird”. More dense. Lot more dialogue and much less amusing description of events, by ‘Scout’, compared to her incomparable masterpiece. Essentially there are only three bits of memorable, descriptive narrative: ‘them going swimming’, ‘the incident with the falsies’ & ‘her going to the “meeting”. Each of those were on a par with what we had got used to in “Mockingbird”.
I actually had the fortune to read “Watchman” while having “Mockingbird” read to me — though, of course, not at the same time. I had made Teischan (12) read the “Bird”. To make sure she did it properly, it became a nightly ritual that she would read a few pages, out loud to I — and this took a long time. I started reading “Watchman” during this time. So, a few hours apart, nightly I got to sample both.
The “Bird”, obviously, is a classic. It was inside Haper Lee and she had to get it out. It was not forced. It was all natural. A story she had to tell, in her own words, the way it was. And what a story.
The “Watchman” doesn’t flow as well. Not sure whether she felt as compelled to tell this story. It seemed a bit forced and that is why I think she didn’t get it 100% ‘right’.
Still NOT a bad book. Definitely worth reading. I am glad I did. In this case, for once, the movie might be better than the book because they could edit and expedite the screeds of dialog.