Book Review: Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

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Five minutes ago I put down my copy of Go Set a Watchman in a state of, well, loss but also amazement. To Kill a Mockingbird is without a doubt one of my favourite books ever. I fell in love with it as a sixteen year old and it sparked a love that not many other books have. I’ve been worried about reading it because of all the controversy in the news but I had to read it anyway, it’s a sequel to a novel I’ve treasured for years.

While there have been numerous bad reviews of the novel, this will not be one. Is this novel as polished as To Kill a Mockingbird? No, I don’t think so. I also think that the negativity is because of what people wanted to read. They wanted the world to be free from racism and for Scout to still be the lovable kid we first read about. The difference is that Scout, now called by her real name Jean Louise, has grown up. She’s twenty-six years old and a lot has changed for her. She no longer had older brother Jem and her best friend Dill to rely on (something which initially upset me but made sense at the end of the novel) and has to make her own sense of the world.

Before long and reader familiar with Lee’s work falls into Maycomb again. While 20 years have passed, it seems to Jean Louise Maycomb has stayed frozen in time. She’s still told off by Aunt Alexandra for not being as feminine as she should be, which made me laugh. While the sleepy town is the same, the reader is introduced to Henry, a Maycomb County boy, Atticus’s law partner and Jean Louise’s on, off love interest. The relationship between the two characters is vital to the plot and to Jean Louise becoming who she is at the end of the novel.

There has been a lot of controversy about Atticus, people have screamed about him being racist and letting go of everything he stood for in To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t want to spoil the novel, but I do want to say wait. Read the book before you get mad and start ranting. If you start reading and want to throw it at all wall, carry on because I promise you there is a reason for this, a reason that is vital for Scout to grow into JEan Louise.

I could not put this book down for the life of me. I needed to read it, even when I was frustrated or didn’t understand (there is a lot of historical knowledge that I wasn’t too sharp on) I needed to get to the end. I found that I really connected with Jean Louise, she will always be Scout to me though. I just felt what she was feeling, when you go back to your hometown and you just feel like you stick out. When you need to realise that ultimately, everyone is human, even if it hurts.

Aside from the heavy parts of this novel, some of which had me on the edge of sobbing my heart out, there is laughter. The novel gives us glimpses of our favourite trio growing up. It felt almost like a comfort blanket reading about Scout, Jem and Dill and the things they got up to after that eventful summer, as well as who they grew up to be.

I thought long and hard while reading about how I was going to rate this and what I thought of it. While reading the majority of it I had a solid 3 star review in my head, and then I got to part seven, which changed everything. It explained what I needed explaining and made me think about my own life. I have to give it to Harper Lee if she can take credit for anything it’s making people think.

I want to give the novel four stars ****. Before people question it, let me just say there was something in this novel that caught me. Jean Louise is only six years older than me and I felt a connection with what she see’s and how she tries to make sense of the world around her. Lee has taken To Kill a Mockingbird and shown us again that life isn’t clearly divided into good and bad, black and white. I think for anyone who loved To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is a must read, especially for those of us at a confusing time in our lives.

Review by Chloe Metzger

Where in the World, 10 places to visit

Today’s post is inspired by the fact that I now know of a few people who have accepted to study abroad for a year! The most exciting and heartbreaking so far is Eleanor who is going to New Zealand! Yes that’s right one of my best friends is heading to the other side of the world. As well as that  few more of my friends are waiting to hear back from other parts of the world. Of course I’m doing that stupid overly proud best friend thing because it is freaking awesome!  I had to write because HELLO, NEW ZEALAND. I have put in my request for a Koala bear as a present.

Why aren’t I heading across the globe to study? I thought about it but there are lots of reasons,the band being a big one. The main reason however, is down to me being a total wuss, so I’m going to stick to rainy old England.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to travel! So here’s a list of 10 places I want to travel to.

Rome 

Because who doesn’t remember the Lizzie Mcguire movie? (‘Sing to me Paulo’)  Who doesn’t love Italian accents and who the hell doesn’t like Ice Cream. I’m a massive fan of Italy, the food, the people (including one of my best friends) and it’s just an incredible place, not to mention all the history!

New York 

‘There’s nothing you can’t do’ ah New York. There are so many things I want to do and it just seems magical and busy and beautiful. Ali went with his Mum before we came to uni and I was beyond jealous. I never used to be bothered but the older I get the more I need to go. After all it’s the only city where you can pretend you’re in Friends and How I Met Your Mother. The Empire State building, Time Square, the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, Ground Zero and the beautiful Statue of Liberty ahhhh get me on a plane now!

Amsterdam 

Yes I’m a fan of The Fault in Our Stars, no it’s not the only reason I want to go. I am desparate to do all of the geeky things in Amsterdam. I’m stupidly excited about the Van Gogh museum because I love his art. My heart belongs to the Anne Frank museum, I will cry a lot but I need to go. Hopefully this will be my 21st treat!

Australia and New Zealand 

These go together because I’d do them together. I will have one best friend in each country which is my first reason to visit. Then there are the beaches, the culture and of course in NZ,  HOBBITS! I want to see the other side of the world, because why not! It just looks interesting and warm and lovely.

Ireland 

Ah Ireland. I’ve been obsessed with going to Ireland since watching P.S I love you when it came out on DVD. It’s so pretty and green, plus the accent is to die for! I’m pretty sure as well that there is Irish on my Dad’s side so that would be nice.

Paris 
I need to go back to Paris and do the grown up side. I’ve done Disneyland 5 times, but that was about 15 years ago…. I want to explore and go up the Eiffel Tower and have pastry and find the writers cafe that I heard about. Ah Paris ❤

Prague 
I’m actually going here in 3 months. It wasn’t on my original list but the more I look up, the more excited I get. Prague looks absolutely beautiful, I can’t wait to see what I can find.

Berlin 

I want to see the hustle and bustle of Berlin. I have no idea why it just seems like a really cool place to see.

Bern 

On my Mum’s side I am Swiss Italian which is freaking awesome. Although I don’t think my family is from Bern, I’d like to visit and just be in the country that my ancestors came from. Switzerland is also supposed to be interesting and beautiful, I don’t know too much but I definitely want to go.

Los Angeles 

Total tourist freak out. Hollywood sign, the beach, maybe even a cheeky trip to Disney too….

Have any of you guys been to any of these places? Any tips for me? Let me know!