Crying over a book is hard because you can’t hug a book. The physical qualities of a book doesn’t have that warmth and tenderness that you long for. Either a book is too small or too hard or too thin or too edgy for your embrace that it will never substitute the comfort of a hug. So you awkwardly put the book on your chest and lay on your bed, crying as your heart gets broken to pieces because of that same bloody book that you can’t even hug.
Saturday, I spent my money for this book that costed more that my regular budget because it was the sequel of one of my favorite books. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee had just been published last year and everyone was excited. I’m not really a fan of hard bound because they’re too solid and too perfect and it doesn’t create those cute little wrinkles when you’ve read it a couple of times so I waited for the paperback and here we are.
Her first book (at least the first one to get published), To Kill A Mockingbird, has been my favorite not only because it was so familiar to my childhood years but it also served as a moral compass from the time I was 16. I even wanted to make “Atticus” as a second name for my future son and “Scout” as a nickname for my future daughter. That is how much I love that book. It taught me a lot about courage and prejudice and how people understood and believed different things. And that in order to understand those differences, we have to consider things from their point of view. And believe me, it changed how I saw the world.
Now, years after reading that beautiful book, a sequel was published. Did I mention that Harper Lee wrote Go Set A Watchman before To Kill A Mockingbird? But her editor thought it was not ready for publication to which she also agreed. So she wrote another story which she based from it and is now a renowned classic. Let’s move on.
Go Set A Watchman is about Scout, now called with her full name Jean Louise and is 26 years old coming home to Maycomb from New York for a two-week vacation. This is the thing I love about sequels – the nostalgia you feel for a place you have never even been to. We all understand how Maycomb feels like even if no Maycomb County is the same in the mind of every reader. But damn it we all know what it feels like.
I believe Jean Louise grew up to be a fine young lady. I love how she still has that Scout attitude in her. She’s definitely the woman I imagined Scout would grow up to be. She speaks her mind and I love how she tells Henry, her boyfriend, straight up that she’s not ready to marry anyone. Speaking of Henry, I’m a little sad Scout didn’t end up with Dill. But I guess Harper Lee was just telling the reality of childhood sweethearts. Sometimes you just don’t end up with the kid you proposed to at the school playground. And who the hell is Henry anyway? I never heard of a Henry. And it’s really annoying everytime he whines about Scout not marrying him and shit. Like leave her alone. But I guess Scout likes him in her own way so whatever.
Aunt Alexandra is back bitching again. Omygod she’s like every young person’s worst nightmare. She’s the epitome of every old fashioned grumpy old woman who had this superiority complex and is always disappointed with the “kids these days”. But I’d give her credit for staying to take care of Atticus who is now 72 and has an arthritis. I still picture him the same though.
And if you’re wondering where the hell is Calpurnia in all these when Atticus needs her most? Well, she’s old and retired. She’s back in her home resting. There’s also another reason why she left the Finches.
Yes bitches Jeremy Atticus Finch fucking dies. And you know the awful thing about that aside from the fact that he’s well…dead, is that there no further talk about what really happened except he got a sudden heart attack. Like I need details!!! Plus the book mentioned it in a really casual way. Kinda like, “After the sudden death of Jem, Calpurnia decided to move back to her hometown blah blah blah…”
Words so quick you almost don’t catch it. You read it again and you still could not absorb it. You read it one more time and you go, “Harper Lee, bless you soul but you sadistic b–” I can’t really call an old woman who just died that word.
That was the biggest twist really. My god. I was imagining Jem to grow up like Atticus but now he’s rotting in his grave. And it really hits you how much things change when someone you know dies. Like Maycomb suddenly stops feeling like Maycomb. It’s a Jem-less Maycomb County now so it’s not Maycomb anymore so yeah.
But I’ve gotten over from Jem. Like I already accepted the fact that he won’t be in the novel so I think we should move on.
So basically the story is about Scout finding out that Atticus has been having this series of meetings with racist white people where they talk about segregation and separating Negroes to white people. And Scout got so disgusted by it that she literally throws up.
And then she realizes why Calpurnia was being cold to her when she visited her. And now she gets really confused and alone because everybody in Maycomb is okay with it.
And then she has this really heartbreaking confrontation with her dad. She was like screaming at him and telling him that the one person she trusted and looked up to betrayed her and stuff. Atticus was explaining to her that Negroes are not ready to have civil rights and they are growing in numbers and they aren’t educated yet and shit. And Scout went on just screaming awful things to him.
It was really awful. I, myself also felt the betrayal because I adored Atticus for being the wise father that he is or was or maybe still is. And then when Uncle Jack smack down slapped the shit out of the Jean Louise, we all realized the deal with this book–That Atticus is not some god we should worship. He’s a flawed human being too. I’m not siding with him but no one really goes to extremes. He’s not good and he’s not bad either. He’s a human being. It’s time to grow up now and let go. This is not a childhood story anymore.
There will be moments in our lives when our heroes would fail us. And that’s one big character development for everyone because we are finally separated from them. We grew up and we won’t be needing their approval anymore and we can all live our own lives guided by our own beliefs and principles outside the influence of our heroes. You are now your own watchman.
Even if I love To Kill A Mockingbird more, I believe this book is important because, aside from it costing a LOT, it’s quite relevant to my life right now.