Like most people my reaction to finding out there was a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird my reaction was a mix of excitement and trepidation. What would it be like? How could it be as powerful? Would it be as good so many years later?
When I came to actually reading Go Set a Watchman I realised that those weren’t the important questions. It wasn’t about it being ‘as powerful’ or as moving. It was about knowing what happened next. Knowing what became of the characters, did their views change? How did the events of To Kill a Mockingbird set the scene for the rest of Scout and Atticus’ lives?
Scout has changed, she wants out, she no longer idolises Atticus and she hates the small town mentality of home. Everyone she knows has changed in her eyes, as if she has finally removed the rose tinted glasses.
This is what the whole book is really about. Harper Lee actually wrote Go Set a Watchman a while before To Kill a Mockingbird despite actually being a sequel. It works much better this way.
This novel is all about growing up, about what it’s like to move away and return home to see how things have changed. In parts of is enchanting as Scout recalls memories of her childhood, but there is an element of sadness as the reader comes to realise the difference between a child’s perspective of the South and its people and the adults perspective upon her return.