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Last weeks broke the news about Harper Lee's new release. The audience was thrilled, readers impatient and booksellers full of hopes. It was definitely a success for the HarperCollins publisher, "Go Set a Watchman" has sold more that 1 million copies in the first week, and this refers to US and Canada book markets only! But how has it been received by the most important and demanding audience - the readers?
The book brought a lot of buzz and received mixed reviews that started to pop up on the blogs, in social media channels and news services the day it was released. Book bloggers have found the book uneasy and got conflicted feelings, and the controversy around the book's topic and author's intentions only heated the discussions up.
Here are several opinions from BookLikes book blogs that you may find helpful when considering whether Harper Lee's second book is worth your time or not.
You know the drill - think for yourself, read before reviewing.
Author Sharon E. Cathcart loved it:
"Wow, what a roller coaster ride.
This is not a book that I loved in the same way as To Kill a Mockingbird, but it is thought-provoking in its demonstration that people are far more complicated than we often given them credit for being."... read full review
As we read the novel, we learn that “go set a watchman” possibly means to some, find your conscience and then act accordingly. Each person must do just that, when reading this book. Decide if Atticus was racist or a realist. Of course, if the issue is whether or not a black person can vote, then there can be only one conclusion. Every legal citizen of the country has and should have always had the right to vote, regardless of color or creed. If, however, it is based on whether or not you believe a voter should be aware of what he/she is voting for, you may come to an altogether different conclusion, but it should not be based on race.
Keep an open mind while reading and determine if Finch is a racist or a realist. He lived in a different time and in a different place than we are now, but his thoughts may have foreshadowed future problems." ... read full review
Blogger from Cody's Bookshelf confesses:
"I read this book with a unique vantage point -- I've never read To Kill A Mockingbird in its entirety. I read the first five or six chapters years ago but never completed it. It's one of those novels I've been meaning to read for years but haven't gotten around to it yet. Because of this, I was able to read Go Set A Watchman without making comparisons to Lee's previous novel. I was able to judge this book on its merits alone, and for that I am pretty grateful."
"I'd like to say more about this novel, but I really don't feel I should. Chances are you've read it or already plan to, or you've already heard everything I could possibly say about it. It should be given a chance if only because it adds a new perspective to the classic story published so long ago. None of the characters are their former selves, nor should it be expected that they would be -- this story takes place twenty years after the events in its predecessor."
With a strong final sentence:
"This isn't the book most Harper Lee fans probably want, but here in 2015, it's the one we need." read full review
Here's Freda's Voice:
So So effect & mixed feelings
Book blogger at Flicker Reads writes:
"I chose to listen to the audiobook version of this book as narrated by Reese Witherspoon. Going into the experience, I was fully prepared to be disappointed in the book, simply given the circumstances of its inception."
"I am pleased to report that aside from all the hype, I liked the book. It certainly upset and angered me in several ways, as I'm certain was the reaction of most readers, but this had nothing to do with the quality of the writing. In fact, structurally, I thought it was one of the better novels I've read this year."
Raises up a statement:
"Getting angry at the book's content seems a pointless exercise, as it was written over 50 years ago and published by someone who is no longer in full control of her awareness."
Gives a grade to a narrator:
"Reese Witherspoon, by the way, gets a B in her narration."... read full review
Blogger at Irresponsible Reader admits:
"I don't know what to think. I just do not. It's that simple. I probably shouldn't even be blogging about this one, but I feel compelled to.*"
"There are so many things that'd help me know what to think about this; for example: 1. if there wasn't the cloud of controversy over the publication -- did Lee really want it published? Is she of sound enough mind to make that choice now? and so on. 2. If there'd been a third book of hers published"
"Am I glad I read this? I think so. There are phrases, sentences, paragraphs, vignettes, scenes, that I relished.
But there's bits about this novel that just confound me. Some of the speechifying seems so out of place"
Then comes to a conclusion that:
"Maybe in time, after weeks/months of thought, a few re-reads, some distance, I'll have an opinion about the book that I can stand behind. Right now, best I can manage is a shrug." read full review
Emm, no effect
Maven Books writes:
"Despite all the hype, I didn't really want to read this book. I don't tend to read books about the South, and considering this was rejected by the publishers at the time it was originally written, it just didn't sound all that worthwhile.
"I don't want to get into any plot details, but I will say that the publishers were right when they advised Ms. Lee to try something else out. She ended up doing a lot better with her second attempt, and this one shouldn't have been published, then or now.
Let it stand on its own, or take it for what it is: a poor first draft."... read full review
Book blogger from The Reading Perusals of Rose Summers explains:
"I need a little time to meditate on this book because I'm reacting to several things that upset me in the course of reading this book, in completely the wrong focus and wrong way. And maybe that's the problem with "Go Set A Watchman" - it doesn't necessarily shine a light on anything. Shallow portrayals of its characters, shallow portrayals of its issues, and pretty much an incomplete novel that seems like it's aiming towards something greater, but never fulfills that promise."
Praises the narrator:
"The only good thing I can say about my reading this book is that Reese Witherspoon is a fine narrator. She really is; she gave more life to the audio performance of the novel than I think I would've had reading this on its own. I'd give her 5 stars for the performance, but the book itself - nowhere near close."
Reviews the book:
"Not only was this an extremely weak narrative from a technical standpoint, but its aim to shine a light on the respective characters and issues it touched upon failed miserably.
I don't think "Go Set A Watchman" really felt like a novel that could stand on its own - it was more like an elaborate draft or outline of a conversation to be had in much larger context than it provided.
Mockingbird has its respective issues that are debatable, but it wasn't anywhere near as weak as this narrative was."... read full review
"If you're looking for the sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird, you'll be disappointed. Even though this book is marketed as the sequel, it is impossible for the two stories to be set in the same universe. There are multiple inconsistencies between the two, the biggest being the outcome of the big trial in To Kill a Mockingbird. Even without the inconsistencies, it would be a poor sequel.
Even taking the story on its own and ignoring its relationship with To Kill a Mockingbird, it just wasn't that great. It meanders along and goes off on tangents that are uninteresting and don't add much to the story."
Finishes the text with these lines:
"I can't say reading this was an enjoyable experience. It did, however, make me incredibly curious about what a lot of other books looked like in their first drafts. I have an even greater appreciation of editors than I already did."... read full review
"When Harper Lee's sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, I was immediately giddy. Then I thought about it a little and I got a little concerned. I've read articles in support of the book and others which match my skepticism.
I hate to feel this conflicted about reading a book." ... read full text
And answers the most important question: To Read or Not to Read?
"Now that the book is out, I think I've made my decision. I don't want to read the book..." read full text
What's your opinion? Will you read the book?
How did you like the book?
Share your opinion and links to your reviews
in the comments below.