Go Set a Watchman ~ By Harper Lee – Bee Readin'

Go Set a Watchman ~ By Harper Lee

Have you read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee yet?  How do you feel about this book being published?  The book is Harper Lee’s original writing of what would become To Kill a Mockingbird.  She submitted the manuscript and was turned down; while the publisher saw the potential, they asked her to re-write it, and To Kill a Mockingbird was born, it was published and became an important piece of literature.

Go Set a Watchman, is one she didn’t want published and honestly…

I am saddened by the fact that the book was published anyway.


Have you ever watched the old I Love Lucy episode where Lucy decides to write a novel? It is hilarious as she stays up all night, pecking away on an old fashioned typewriter, puts her all into writing and then submits it to a publisher the book is rejected, but the publisher wants to use parts of Lucy’s novel in his book, “how not to write a novel.”  I feel like this is the scenario with Go Set a Watchman.

Go Set a Watchman is not to be considered a prequel, or a sequel, it is a stand alone novel involving the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird.

I would never suggest that you not read a book and everyone has different opinions about books and stories; with that said, I am really disappointed in this book.  The story drags, I feel that it is the ramblings and very rough draft of a story in someone’s head, trying to get out, but in no order and with no rhyme or reason.

When I read a story and it is time to close for the day or night, I look forward to picking it back up.  However, with Go Set a Watchman, you put the book down and when you pick it back up, you are lost.  The story twists and turns making no sense in many places.  I struggled to get through the book and found I was skimming through parts of it as it just dragged.

I feel for Harper Lee, if I had written a book and the rough draft  I was not proud of was suddenly published, I would be embarrassed.  She wrote an important piece of literature and I hope that her reputation is not tainted by this book.

If you love To Kill a Mockingbird, you may want to think long and hard before reading this book.  I wasn’t tainted by the book, but didn’t enjoy it.

Book Club was interesting, we each had our own opinions about the book.  I love hearing everyone’s thoughts on the book, bits and pieces that spoke to them or gave meaning to them.  Still some thought it was a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird.  One of our girlfriends found an article that takes lines from Go Set a Watchman and matches it exactly to a line in To Kill a Mockingbird.  I am sharing the link with you just in case you want to check it out.


Not only was the discussion fun and interesting, our hostess made it even more fun with her creativity through food and drinks.  Since both books are set in the south, she had cheesy biscuits with butter, who doesn’t love a good flaky biscuit with cheese and butter dripping down the sides?  We feasted on cookies and pecan pie or pee-can pie however you want to say it.  She made sweet tea and the best part was the Tequila Mockingbird cocktails.

Here is the recipe for you,

Tequila Mockingbirds
1 Jalapeno pepper slice
2 oz Patron Silver Tequila
1.5 oz Watermelon-Basil Puree*
.75 oz Fresh lime juice
.75 oz Agave syrup (one part agave nectar, one part water)
Watermelon-Basil puree*
2 cups of cubed watermelon
7 sprigs of basil
Puree in blender and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
In a shaker, muddle the Jalapeno slice. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and double strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

I really hope you let me know your thoughts on the book if you have read it.  If you are going to read it or in the process of reading it, please jump back over and let me know what you thought.

Bee Readin’

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8 thoughts on “Go Set a Watchman ~ By Harper Lee”

  1. I TOTALLY disagree! If Harper Lee submitted this manuscript, she had wanted it published. That it was rejected as it was first submitted doesn’t mean she didn’t want it published.

    That the editors had her write a different version and then reworked it, as editors do … that gave us To Kill A Mockingbird. Who knows, if Go Set a Watchman had been given the same editors’ attention, whether the characters and flow would not have also been as amazing at her first published book. For that, I am sad.

    That Harper Lee didn’t have a loving daughter who could have worked with editors and presented a reworked version as stellar as To Kill a Mockingbird … doubly sad.

    It did take me a bit to get into the flow of the book … and it did pick up towards the end. But I also learned more about Atticus … and the whole family.

    I think readers should NOT stay away. There is a lot to learn … and how remarkable that Harper Lee wrote this as a first draft … with all its flaws, it is still quite a story.

    Sorry, Terri … I’d still recommend it, as a story by an amazing author … and leave it to the readers to decide. Definitely, Tod should read it … and you’ll should have an amazing discussion, over mint iced tea and maybe a slice of Lane cake!

    1. Joanne,
      This is why I love Book Club and book discussions in general. I so enjoy the discussion. Actually if you google it, she did not want this book published and asked that it not be published years ago. Her attorney found the manuscript attached to one of To Kill a Mockingbird, and it was decided that they would have it published. In a private interview with Oprah, she explained to her why she didn’t want the book published and Oprah asked her if she was like Scout, she said No, Boo Radley.
      The book was very hard for me to get through and I simply didn’t enjoy it. I had to keep an open mind when reading it. It really was the first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. Sadly, she suffered a stroke in 2007 leaving her mostly deaf and blind. She also said for no amount of money would she promote another book. I find her fascinating and it makes me a little sad to see the book being published without her permission, knowing she didn’t want it out there. Mint iced tea and Lane Cake would be perfect. Thanks so much for your thoughts and opinions, I love it!

      1. Interesting. What I found under Oprah and Harper Lee interview was an informal chat at the Four Seasons in NYC … and Harper Lee made it clear that she would never do an interview. And she never did.

        But what I do see is that she said repeatedly that she didn’t want Watchman published. In fact, in 1962, when asked: “How do you feel about your second novel?” another asked. “I’m scared,” Harper Lee replied.”

        Other comments: Lee had many other explanations for why the anticipated novel failed to materialize. To a cousin: “When you’re at the top, there’s only one way to go.” To a bookseller: “I said what I had to say.” To a friend: “I wouldn’t go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill A Mockingbird for any amount of money.”

        And she did say that she WAS Boo Radley.

        So maybe she had a taste of the fury surrounding her and didn’t want to personally do that again. But that doesn’t mean she wanted it withheld … just it was too much for her.

        Who knows. But having written one of the most revered novels of the 20th century … people want more from her.

        LOVE BOOK CLUB!!!

        1. She had reasons why she didn’t want it out there, and it felt a bit uncomfortable reading something she didn’t want out there for what reason, only she knows. Obviously, she didn’t like the publicity and I can understand that with her being Boo Radley. Love To Kill a Mockingbird and appreciate the character of Boo Radley even more knowing it was her. Like you, I Love Book Club, the women, the discussions and opinions, it is engaging, fun and fantastic discussions, while supporting and appreciating the differences in thoughts and opinions. What a fantastic group.

    1. Hi Janet,
      That is a tough call. Reading is so subjective and everyone has different opinions based on what they like to read. This was just a tough read for me, especially after To Kill A Mockingbird. If you read it, please, please, please jump back on and let me know what you think of the book. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for the comment.

  2. To read or not to read? Here’s a thought:

    Harper Lee became a literary figure on the success of To Kill a Mockingbird. For whatever her reasons for not published Go Set a Watchman, it’s still a story with the same characters at a different time. Could it have used some editting … absolutely. But the essence was there.

    As long as it was not her personal memoirs or diary, I’m not so sure that it is wrong to read it. I had the same concerns … and also didn’t want to have my image of Atticus tarnished. It wasn’t, in the least.

    BTW, how did it get published? Was she involved or was it a personal lawyer who insisted and made it happen?

    1. Joanne,
      Here is a link to an article printed by Bloomberg and is the best article explaining what is going on with Harper Lee. I hope you find it interesting. http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-harper-lee-go-set-a-watchman/. Cut and paste it into your browser. It is quite interesting.

      My image of Atticus was not tarnished at all, nor was my image and opinion of Harper Lee. In my heart this is a rough draft, completely unedited start to what would become To Kill A Mockingbird. If I was an author, I would not want anyone to read the unedited rough draft, that is simply my thoughts in writing. In my opinion only, it was all done for someone to profit and I am not sure it is Harper Lee.

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