ToKill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time. It was with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation that I bought GoSet a Watchman. I knew I would eventually read this book, but I was worried it might be a disappointment. I need not have worried.
GoSet a Watchman does what a good book should do, spark an emotional response in the reader. Watchman is the story of Jean Louise Finch twenty years after Mockingbird. She has moved to New York and in this book returns for an annual visit to her hometown of Macomb. Her reintroduction in the opening chapters reminded me of a line from a movie in which a young female professional is told. “You don’t really need to tell people you’re from New York.”
For all her childhood insecurity and naiveté, twenty-six year old JeanLouise holds herself in a rather high regard. New York living has done its work and imparted in her a fine-tuned sense of superiority overall things found in the American hinterland. She dislikes the modernization the town but has no problem being turned off by townspeople who still cling to their primitive ways.
I found the actions, attitudes and intolerance of Jean Louisethroughout, the book are strikingly similar to those of twenty-first century liberals, think pink hat and Hillary button. The crisis occurs when she finds out that her childhood idol, her father Atticus, has not embraced race relations as she believes every “good” person must. Convinced he has deceived her the entirety of her life, she strikes out at him.
The iconic character of Atticus is cast in a different light than the character I loved in Mockingbird. Which, of course, is central to this story. I harbored a bit of “say it ain’t so” most of the way through the book, but picked up onUncle Jack’s lesson before Jean Louise did.
Jean’sLouise’s frustration and anger over her color blind childhood being lost to everything is about race adulthood struck a chord with me. So did Uncle Jack’s action to convert her anger to listening. Love to try that awaking on some folks.