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Go Set a Watchman

(To Kill a Mockingbird #2)

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  190,219 Ratings  ·  26,614 Reviews
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the So ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by HarperCollins
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Farseer Yes, it was written by her. However, this is not a sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a very early draft of that novel. Fortunately, Lee rewrote it…moreYes, it was written by her. However, this is not a sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a very early draft of that novel. Fortunately, Lee rewrote it completely and changed the characters and events (for example, the outcome of Tom Robinson's trial is different), creating one wonderful and unforgettable novel. You can read that version with the title To Kill a Mockingbird.

Publishing Go Set a Watchman is just a money-making stunt by the people who control Lee's estate. It is nowhere near as well-written as TKAM and doesn't have the same powerful characters. It's only of interest for those who want to study Lee's creative process. If you are just a regular fan of TKAM, do yourself a favor and skip this one.(less)
Pat Schultz I was not at all disappointed. But I am sure glad this did not come out before TKM - this way her idealization of Atticus makes perfect sense - as…moreI was not at all disappointed. But I am sure glad this did not come out before TKM - this way her idealization of Atticus makes perfect sense - as does this. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Chance Lee
Jul 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: shmoop
The best thing I can say about Go Set a Watchman is that no one will ever accuse it of being written by Truman Capote.

For those living in a cave, Go Set a Watchman is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, the book that popularized the "white people end racism" narrative so maligned in The Help but still celebrated in To Kill a Mockingbird. However, it isn't exactly a sequel. The alleged story is that Harper Lee wrote this book first, and it was rejected by publishers.

These publishers were right.
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“Now think about this. What would happen if all the Negroes in the South were suddenly given full civil rights? I’ll tell you. There’d be another Reconstruction. Would you want your state governments run by people who don’t know how to run ’em? Do you want this town run by—now wait a minute—Willoughby’s a crook, we know that, but do you know of any Negro who knows as much as Willoughby? Zeebo’d probably be Mayor of Maycomb. Would you want someone of Zeebo’s capability to handle the town’s money
Diane Barnes
First, let me say that this book IN NO WAY affected my opinion of "To Kill A Mockingbird". If anything, it made me love it more. In my mind, it is even more of a masterpiece from having read it's predecessor, or, as Harper Lee herself described it, the parent of Mockingbird. And Harper Lee herself has lost no respect from me.

The characters become even richer from seeing their future selves in Watchman. There are scenes and dialogue here that showed up in her later effort. She fleshed out some ch
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
2015 Goodreads Choice Winner:Best Fiction

So, I’m not going to lie. I was pretty excited when I found out that this book was coming out.

I was even more excited when it showed up at my house.

I know there is a whole controversy around this book but I just don’t buy it. I believe the story that was told. No, I don’t want to argue with you about it. No, I don’t want you to tell me why you’re right. No, I am not going to try to change your mind on the matter. So, please don’t think you’ll change mi
Darth J
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was ok


I think this quote really encapsulates both the tone of the book and peoples’ feelings when reading it. The audience and Scout’s nostalgia for what once was is a large part of the experience with this To Kill a Mockingbird sequel. Things change, people change, and the lens of our childhood perceptions can be clouded with a rose-tint that turns out to be not so consistent with reality. Fair warning is given to those dear readers who grew up—like Scout—to idolize Atticus:

“As you grew u
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am going to write a full review I think but oh this is not a novel and it was not ready for public consumption. There is a faint glimmer of plot. There IS something here but it is not coherent. It is not robust. This reads as notes toward something grand and that makes the book's current state that much more a travesty.
Feb 03, 2015 added it
Shelves: fiction
Update 2/19/16
Rest in peace, Scout:

I feel I have to start off by pointing out that this isn’t really a true sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird and you are going to be nothing but disappointed if that's what you're looking for. From what I understand, this was the first draft of a book that Harper Lee submitted to her publisher in the late 50s. Her editor wasn’t so sure about it and suggested Lee write a different version of the story and that feedback ultima
Barry Pierce
(edit: in the original review of this novel I gave it three-stars, after 24-hours of thinking about it I decided to upgrade it to four-stars, thus giving it the same rating that I gave to To Kill A Mockingbird)

This book is the literary equivalent of those reunion episodes of Entertainment Tonight. The whole cast of some old sitcom get together and you just spend the whole time thinking about how old everybody looks.

The basic plot of this new sequel/prequel/first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird is
Will Byrnes
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Atticus Finch as racist. There it is. Tough to swallow, isn’t it? Atticus Finch, the embodiment of decency, brought to life in To Kill a Mockingbird, widely considered one of the greatest novels in American literature, magnificently brought to cinematic life by Gregory Peck in the film, defender of the powerless, dispenser of wisdom, a hero to generations of readers and movie-goers, spouting opinions that do or should make most folks cringe. Here are a few samples:
…You realize that our Negro po
MJ Nicholls
Feb 04, 2015 marked it as getting-even
Praise the heavens. Now there’s a second inexplicably overly popular novel that people who barely read two books a year can list as one of their favourite novels on their Goodreads, Facebook, and dating profiles. And now there’s another inexplicably overly popular novel I have to ignore, while the world fires missiles of contempt into my head, bearing the inscriptions: “But this is so POWERFUL. It is about INJUSTICE and stuff. You are an IDIOT for not reading this.” Looking forward to not readin ...more
Petra X
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
So we all felt that praise was due to Atticus in Mockingbird because he defended a black kid accused of rape, unsuccessfully. And we all fell about slathering and slobbering with joy that such a wonderful example of humanity could have come out of such racist times. So much so it's a standard school curriculum book.

But we were wrong. He didn't defend the kid from any feeling of the equal humanity of blacks and whites. Not a bit, Atticus was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and a firm racist, absolut
Steph Sinclair
I guess this is as good time as any to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird.
Feb 03, 2015 marked it as to-read
 photo 63f743bc-5d19-457f-8a31-b6bad9eb9992_zpskmcj4kdj.jpg

Wooooo Hooooo!!!

Update July 14th, 2105

*I read a review that made me change my mind- and normally I don't do that (I like to think for myself thank you very much)...but I am going to leave To Kill a Mockingbird as it should be- My final memory of a great author- and characters I will always love- just the way they were.
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-it, 2015
When I read To Kill a Mockingbird for a second time this last May, I realized I didn’t like Atticus Finch nearly as much as I remembered liking him. He seemed too perfect, almost frustratingly so. And as Scout is only a child narrating that story, she puts her father on a god-like pedestal that is understandable when everyone tells her how integrous and upright and honest he is.

So while reading Go Set a Watchman, I couldn’t help but be a bit pleased to see Atticus Finch humanized. I know, contr
Bookdragon Sean
Go Set a Watchman is a novel about growing up; it is a story about seeing the world as it truly is and not how we wish it to be. Not everything is perfect and not everything can be separated by such a simple barrier as black and white.

“Had she insight, could she have perceived the barriers of her highly selective, insular world, she may have discovered that all her life she had been with a visual defect which had gone unnoticed and neglected by herself and those closest to her: she was born col
May 28, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, brouhaha
If someone described the publication of this book as a money making racket I would find it hard to criticise.

Even if the senile author had been manipulated into acceding to its publication, the kind of money that was growing on the trees would make it a mere peccadillo. But I suspect had Mr Finch been fortunate to live as long as his creator-author, he'd have taken umbrage at the moral failure on the part of the agents and publishers no?

Be that as it may, this novel couldn’t have appeared at a
Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.”

Important things to understand about Go Set a Watchman:

• It is not exactly a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. If you go into it thinking of it as a sequel, you will be disappointed.

• This book was never supposed to be published. For most of her life, Harper Lee did not want it to be published. There's a lot of sketchiness surrounding the publication of this book. You ca
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Home for 19 hours and you've already indulged your predilection for ablutionary excesses,
hah! A classic example of Watsonian Behaviorism – – I think I'll write you up and send
you to the AMA 'Journal'."
"Hush you old quack," whispered Jean Louise between clenched teeth. "I'm coming to see
you this afternoon.
"You and Hank mollockin' around in the river – –hah! – – ought to be ashamed of
yourselves – – disgrace to the family – – have fun?"

The editors of "To kill a mockingbird", got it right when t
Diane S ☔
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I decided not to re-read TKAM, which I last read many, many years ago. Thought it would be better not to compare these two books, a first draft is not a prequel or a sequel. As for how this book came to light, as a reader that is not my job either. The book is out there now to be read or not. Actually think it would be more interesting to read this one first and than TKAM, because it gives the reader insights into the creative mind at work, what was changed and edited to make TKAM the successful ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: would-read-again
I've seen that this book has been getting so much flack lately. But that's probably because everyone's treating it like manna from heaven and are therefore disappointed when it's not perfect. Let's remember this very important fact: Go Set a Watchman was written and then shelved by Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird instead. Hmm... there's probably a reason she opted to do that. I, for one, loved this book for the simple reason that it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It shows that how ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
"Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”

Go Set a Watchman was released this week and despite the warnings that reading this long awaited companion (it is NOT a sequel) to To Kill A Mockingbird may spoil everything I have ever believed about the story and its main characters, I read the book. Mostly, I wanted to see for myself how this supposed manuscript provided the material for one of my favourite books, how it was differen
Feb 04, 2015 marked it as to-read
Freshman English teachers everywhere gather in the streets. The chanting begins. terror rises. no one is safe. The mockingbird cannot be killed.
update:apparently, Atticus is an old racist now. I always knew I would loose the original hot dad, just didn't want it to be like this.
Michael Finocchiaro
As beautiful and powerful as To Kill A Mockingbird was, with a fantastic Atticus Finch defending an innocent black man against charges of rape brought by a white woman in pre-60s Alabama, one would like to hope that a followup book by Harper Lee featuring the same protagonists would be similarly impressive. I read many frontal attacks on this book here on Goodreads and am a bit "partagé" as we say in French. On one hand, I like Lee's easy going prose, her southern speech inflections, her strong- ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Got a copy in my hot hands... I'm just saving it for the right moment, so I can dive in and not come up for air till I am done with it!! Because life has a thing about annoying me, while I'm reading. :)

Just read the first chapter on The Wall Street Journal's site.
I'm glad I did because it's going to be awesome!!! Then the bombshell that is revealed mid chapter had me in a turrets fit and I started to cry. :(

Pre-ordered this on Amazon!!

Holy cow!!!!
I'm so excited.
To Kill a Mockingbird is my favori
Lindsey Rey
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
[4.5 Stars]
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
Και να που η μικρή αφηγήτρια με τον αυθόρμητο χαρακτήρα,με την αγνή αντιδραστική στάση σε όλο το κατεστημένο και κυρίως με την αγάπη που της μεταγγισαν -σαν ιερό άχρωμο αιμα- τα πρότυπα του περιβάλλοντος της, φτάνει ενήλικη πια να επιστρέφει στην παλιά της γειτονιά, στο πατρικό της σπιτι, στα πολύτιμα όνειρα των παιδικών της χρόνων...και ενώ ολα ειναι εκεί και την περιμένουν, ταυτόχρονα απουσιάζουν.
Που ειναι ο αδελφός της;
τι συμβαίνει με τον πατέρα της που υπερασπιζόταν ενάντια σε όλους τα απα
Angela M
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

My first inclination was to say that this book should not have been published . So much controversy and so much press and so many reviews for a book that perhaps wasn't meant to be published but yet here it is . It would be sad to know that it was published without Harper Lee's approval, but we have no way of really knowing for sure . In spite of what I don't know , there was never a minute when I thought I wouldn't read it .

How to look at - a rough draft , a first novel in need of an
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
All controversy aside, I'm still rooting for Harper Lee and for this novel to be amazing!
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
I was actually gifted a copy of this book (many thanks Eddie!!!!) and today I received notice from the library that the copy I put on hold umpteen months ago was available for pick up (in case you aren't aware, I'm not so bright). I realize there are two sides to every story and that obviously I'm not truly privy to either when it comes to the circumstances surrounding the release of this book, but I've decided that (at this point in time at least) I don't feel compelled to read it. I simply can ...more
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Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served on the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the you ...more

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“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.” 423 likes
“Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.” 244 likes
More quotes…