Classic Fiction

Go Set a Watchman Audiobook Review

Go Set a Watchman Audiobook Review
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Go Set a Watchman

Written by: Harper Lee

Narrated by: Reese Witherspoon

Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: July 14, 2015

Publisher: Harper Audio

Over the years, a handful of books have captured the reader’s imagination and have transported them to an amazing location spiritually and mentally. This is true, when it comes to Harper Lee’s amazing epic, To Kill A Mockingbird. This timeless novel has been passed down from generation to generation and has become the staple of the American struggle against racism and discrimination. Of course, there is now a sequel to the novel. The book, Go Set a Watchman, quickly shot to fame and took ahold of a nation. People waited in line for days and days, in order to get their hands on the novel.

Now, the Go Set a Watchman audiobook is available and Hollywood actor, Reese Witherspoon, narrates it. Does the audiobook and story do justice to the original? Is the story just as gripping and emotional, as To Kill A Mockingbird? Below, you will find out!

The Narration

In order for an audiobook to be a success, a handful of factors must come together and create the perfect combination. Although the story itself needs to be enthralling and captivating, the narration must also be excellent. With Go Set a Watchman, we have a true veteran narrating the book. At this point, almost everyone should be well familiar with Reese Witherspoon. This Hollywood starlet has been in the game for an extensive period of time and many of us watched her grow and adapt right on the big screen.

Of course, performing in a Hollywood movie is somewhat unique, when compared to narrating an audiobook. With an audiobook, the voice actor must spread their wings and take control over an entire cast of characters. Go Set a Watchman has a very diverse cast and each member is unique. This is ultimately where Reese excels. Her skills and experience shine through like a beacon of light in the darkness. Reese makes it clearly obvious from the very start that she is a true professional.

When making the transition from Scout to Jack and finally to Atticus, Reese manages to maintain a steady flow of consistency. Each character remains clearly distinguishable and each has his or her own unique vibe. Witherspoon definitely brings the characters to the forefront of the story, which is right where they deserve to be. As a character driven story, Go Set a Watchman relies on strong and captivating characters. In this regard, Reese ultimately manages to enhance the tale and take it to new heights.

Much like the previous novel, Go Set a Watchman is a heart-wrenching tale, with a ton of heart and emotion. The characters get excited, argue, fight and grieve together. This type of scenario requires a narrator with a great deal of depth and plenty of skill. Reese should be commended for her abilities in this area. She never over dramatizes anything and manages to keep the pace right on track throughout.

Finally, the audio itself is excellent. During the entire 6 hours and 57 minutes, a hiccup or audio flaw never presented itself. The unabridged audiobook never drags or grinds to a halt. The pace is excellent and definitely keeps the listener engaged, until the very end.

Exploring The Book

When exploring the quality of To Kill a Mockingbird, it is truly hard to beat and excel the masterpiece. The good news is that Go Set a Watchman comes pretty close to achieving the impossible. The book follows the previous story very closely. Scout, or Jean Louise Finch, leaves her hometown of New York and returns to her childhood home of Maycomb, Alabama. Although Scout is a little bit older now, she still faces some of the same struggles of her youth. Times have changed, but the problems have remained the same.

During the beginning of the book, controversy emerges, with the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. With the ruling, the NCAAP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, emerges on the town and matters only worsen. The racial divide, which was so prevalent in the previous novel, takes center stage. Unlike in the previous, Scout begins to see a new side of her father, Atticus. She discovers that he has some racist roots deep within.

The startling discovery sets Jean off into a tailspin and she ultimately believes that her father has betrayed her. From that point forward, things only begin to slide further and further down hill for Jean. Throughout this period, Jean also encounters a potential suitor in Henry “Hank” Clinton. Hank now works for Atticus, which throws another wrench into the tale.

Will Atticus be able to redeem himself in the eyes of his daughter? Will Jean be able to overcome her past and allow herself to open up to Henry? Overall, Go Set a Watchman is a gripping tale, which is filled with realism and controversial, which are still prevalent in today’s society. As with the previous novel, Go Set a Watchman is full of life lessons, which will ultimately be passed onto the listener or reader. Although it may never hit its peak like the previous, Go Set a Watchman is nearly perfect and should not be ignored!

Overall Assessment

When it comes down to it, Harper Lee has definitely outdone herself with Go Set a Watchman. Yes, she did receive some criticism for specific aspects of the tale, but no family is perfect and the book exemplifies this sentiment. Although Lee is the mastermind behind the novel, it is difficult to ignore Reese Witherspoon’s performance here. She is excellent on the big screen, but her narration of Go Set a Watchman could very well be her best performance to date! Is it possible to win an Emmy for an audiobook? It is truly that good!

If you were a fan of the original, you definitely need to experience Go Set a Watchman. The audiobook is undeniably the best way to experience the tale. It exceeds the novel in all regards, thanks to a commanding performance from Reese! Be sure to check it out today!

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