Didn’t think so, either.
The best thing about this very earnest novel are tantalizing glimpses of the masterpiece Lee would go on to write, at the behest of her editor. The most engaging parts of Watchman are its flashbacks and memories of Scout’s childhood.
The worst thing about the book is the strong probability that Lee didn’t and wouldn’t want it published at all (evidence being that she’d scarcely have waited until she was old and infirm to finally do so). Believe me, someone could comb my hard drive and find way worse stuff to publish when I’m past the point of objecting. But Watchman really doesn’t measure up to what Lee has given us.
In case you slept through all the press this summer, the novel centers on Scout Finch’s return to Maycomb, AL as a young woman living in New York. Set during the civil rights era, Watchman, which feels more like a novella than a novel, both in length and scope, depicts her outrage and disillusionment with the prejudice she encounters there, especially from her father, Atticus, whom she (and we) idolized. I found the story readable, but frankly rather bleak and sophomoric. However, Atticus wasn’t ruined for me. Flawed, human…yet I still liked him.
But this novel could have used more of Truman Capote, for my taste.