Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I’ve been swithering about reading Go Set a Watchman but at last I’ve definitely decided not to read it as I don’t want to sully my experience of reading To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you haven’t already done so you can read the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman here. It’s accompanied by items by Oprah Winfrey, Shami Chakrabarti, Mary Badham (Scout in the film) and Harper Lee’s sister, Alice.

As it happens, Jack had never got around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird, it seems it wasn’t a set book when he was at school, although I must admit that I read it years before it was given to me at school to read.

You can read Jack’s review here.

7 thoughts on “Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  1. Thanks for the link to Jack’s review. I enjoyed it (and left a comment). I definitely agree that you would want to read To Kill a Mockingbird first.

  2. I shamelessly have never read or watched the film. I am wondering whether to read the original but long after all the fuss has died down. I hate jumping on the band wagon sometimes.

    • Jo,
      I think you will love the book, when you get around to reading it, but I know what you mean by the band wagon thing. I tend not to read what everyone else is reading – at that time anyway. The first time I read To Kill a Mockingbird I was in Germany aged 11 or 12, desperate for reading material and it was the only book in English available, I had struck lucky!

  3. I’ve read Mockingbird and seen both the movie and, more recently, the stage play. I grew up in the deep south of the US in the 60s and the subject matter resonates. But I don’t believe prejudice is the exclusive province of the American south. As Jack pointed out in his review, there are prejudices of many sorts still very much with us, where ever we may live. I fear it’s human nature to focus on that which divides, rather than that which is shared.

    That said, I can’t imagine reading it in “British English” – please tell me that they haven’t similarly “translated” Mark Twain!! The vernacular is essential to the tone and feel of the story for heaven’s sake!!

    I haven’t downloaded Watchman yet, but from what I’ve heard from friends who have, AND loved Mockingbird, it’s a must.

    • Pearl,
      I had no idea you were from the deep south. You’re right there are always prejudices, the religious bigotry here in Scotland gets me down, although I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it used to be. It would be even better if they stopped having religious schools as it definitely promotes a ‘them and us’ feeling in people.

      I think he meant British English spellings which are in the Folio edition, such as colour for color. I don’t know why they bothered doing that. Mark Twain remains untinkered with I’m sure!

      Interesting about your friends, now I’m back in two minds whether to read it or not.

      • I stumbled over your blog because I was searching for information about Fife. I have lived 72 years in North Carolina, USA (the South). I support “Equal Rights”. I enjoyed “To Kill a Mockingbird” because I have always enjoyed reading about people. I did not LOVE the book because it seemed to “saccharine” and improbable to me. I quite understand how Harper Lee became a recluse after she rewrote her characters at her publisher’s demand. The resulting book was a great success, but she was denied expressing her true feelings about the South as she experienced it in her childhood. Please read “Go Set a Watchman” and look for what Lee was trying to express. It really does us no good to live a fantasy.
        I crossed the Queensferry Bridge, July 23 & 24, going up to Aberdeen by train to visit my Grandfather’s birthplace. His cousin, Alexander Paterson, was gardener for Sir James Colville at Craigflower Gardens Mansion, Dunfermline, beginning in 1913. His cottage was right beside Crombie, overlooking the Forth to Bo’ness. He sent my grandfather a letter in 1938 saying that if a bomb fell on the munitions depot he would be blown up. His son, Willie Paterson, was gardner at Floors Castle in Kelso in 1938. I don’t know what came of them.

        • Elizabeth Rittase,
          Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Lots of people seem to be enjoying the book, at the same time as saying that it isn’t very well written, I’ll maybe get around to reading it sometime.
          That’s very interesting about your family. I live near Dunfermline but hadn’t heard of Craigflowers Mansion, I see that it has been converted into flats, I think I’ll go some time and take a look and see what has happened to the garden. Kelso is well known to me but I’ve only seen Floors Castle grounds from Kelso Bridge. I did have an old gardening friend who was born in an estate cottage there and she said it was beautiful, she was born in 1913, and she was an Anderson. I didn’t realise there was a munitions depot near Crombie. During the war a lot of Polish soldiers were billeted in Kelso. They fairly brightened up the lives of the womenfolk apparently. Sadly my Kelso friends have all gone now. We were in Aberdeen earlier in the summer, visiting Lewis Grassic Gibbon country – The Mearns – with an American friend.

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