A Review {of sorts} of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

go set

Go Set A Watchman came out over three years ago. I have studiously avoided it. Why? I’m not really sure but I think it had a lot to do with rumours of Atticus’s racist ideas and me not wanting to have to look more closely at a childhood idol of mine.

Recently I downloaded an e-reader platform onto our computer. Why? {This is a good question since I have been known to rant and rave about e-readers and how I much prefer to hold a book in my hands for the full sensual shebang of reading}.  The answer is….. the library only had an e version of the second book in a series I was reading. {See…. pragmatism wins every time}.

What do these two events have to do with one another? I simply saw Go Set A Watchman in the e book lists and pressed borrow! There were no excuses to be heard when I didn’t even have to leave my chair to borrow it. {Or read it for that matter!}

Reader. I read it.

And now I know why Harper Lee was made to rewrite it as To Kill A Mockingbird. To make it more palatable for the American public. {Though it still wasn’t, and isn’t, to many}

Set your racism in the past and it immediately becomes something of another mindset. That’s how people thought back then. We can’t put today’s mindset onto the past. {Does any of this sound familiar?? It does to me. I read it daily in the comments online.} Setting racism now is much more confronting. . {And Go Set A Watchman was set in the now at the time it was written}  You might be called on to do something about it. To not let other people get away with it. To tell governments that what they’re doing is bad. To take a good, long, hard look at YOURSELF.

Atticus espousing racist views made me re-evaluate my views on Atticus and I realised that I had assumed that because Atticus was for justice that he would also be for equality. They are not the same thing. You can be for justice under the law and still hold views on the people you are defending that are abhorrent and wrong {to me!}

The second thing that hit me was that you cannot change anything from without.  Lecturing from the outside changes nothing. Putting people on the outside because you think they are not worthy or will not understand or somehow do not deserve to be on the inner, also does not work. Think of all those gazillions of dollars our government pays for work programmes, indigenous intervention programmes, welfare programmes. The list is endless. Everything said to be to bring the outsiders back into the sanctified middle with all the more deserving folk, but only when we’ve abased you enough. You have to earn it baby!

This is what Atticus says. We can’t let black folks have the vote because they will vote for each other and they are not adult enough {like we are} to take on these responsibilities. They will overrun us, there are more of them, we cannot let them have power. Let’s slow down the pace of progress until they {I’m?} ready.

Scout, as they say, is colour blind. Folks are just folks. She judges people on what they do, not which race they are. Atticus, and Maycomb County, is a slap in the face.

Go Set A Watchman was about fear. Fear of change. Fear of sharing. Fear of outsiders. Fear of a beloved Dad falling off his pedestal.

I’m glad I finally read it. My view of Atticus is now from a different angle but Scout remains robust and true, with a passion for life and a disdain for rules.

Would I recommend you read it? Yes. Go ahead. Let it make you angry. Pull it apart. Make comparisons to To Kill A mockingbird. Let yourself think. Then tell me about it.

 

Copyright October 2018

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Review {of sorts} of Matt Haig’s Notes On A Nervous Planet

000_0463 (2)

I couldn’t have picked a harder book for my first review than Matt Haig’s Notes On a nervous Planet. Not because it is a difficult book, it is refreshingly straight forward in both language and content, but because I become emotionally involved whenever I read any of Matt’s books. I find it hard to stand back and assess anything whilst I’m thinking to myself Yes! It’s just like that for me too!!

 

Well…here goes nothing.

 

Notes On A Nervous Planet is Matt Haig’s second book about mental health. The first was Reasons To Stay Alive, which touched many of my raw nerves and did, in fact, remind me that there were many reasons for me to stay alive. That it wasn’t just me reacting to the world the way I did. It made me feel less alone.

Notes On A Nervous Planet still deals with mental health, but this time in terms of our connectivity to the rest of the world and what 24hr a day, 7 days a week connectivity via electronic media is doing to us.

Matt’s style is very personal. He shares intimate moments, from crying from anxiety in a shopping centre to lacking sleep due to engaging with Trump Trolls on twitter. {Twitter is where I first met Matt, but he has never met me. That is the nature of Twitter.} In a moment of irony, I only found myself in the bookshop where I bought this book because I was hiding from all the lights and the noise of the shopping centre. I was in the beginnings of a full blown panic attack. Notes On A Nervous Planet fell off the shelf and said YOU NEED ME!! NOW!!

Matt writes in easily digestible small chapters. He moves from topic to topic at the rate of knots. He writes lists! I love lists. I’m addicted to lists. Without lists I would get nothing done. Without lists I would never get to the point.

Matt writes like an anxious person like myself thinks. It is for that reason that Notes On A Nervous Planet speaks to me.

Note to self : You do need to put the mouse down every now and then, go outside and reconnect with nature.

But not right now.