Grownups of Our Time
Title: “Go Set a Watchman”
Author: Harper Lee
Blurb: “Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch — ‘Scout’ — returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her.”
Review: “‘Watchman’ is about fallen idols and disillusionment. Jean Louise tries to reconcile how moral paragon Atticus Finch could be racist, and that’s what the readers have been trying to reconcile, as well.”
Customers Also Bought: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Footnote: Having toiled for fifteen years on behalf of a state law school, we fully understand the influence of Atticus Finch on generations of idealistic lawyers. We also understand that the provenance of Go Set a Watchman — drafted in the Fifties, before To Kill a Mockingbird — is somewhat in dispute.
But let’s be clear: Just as Lincoln shared, and ultimately transcended, the prejudices of his time, so does Atticus Finch. Do we condemn him as a child and grownup of the Jim Crow South, or do we celebrate him for defeating his own demons in service of justice? Isn’t that the true ideal of the American justice system, whatever its many historical and contemporary failures?