It was established in this question that Go Set a Watchman should be read after To Kill A Mockingbird. However, in the comments, LaurenIpsum pointed out that a better question might be "Should Go Set a Watchman be considered a prequel or a first draft?" So, I modified it slightly to ask:

Should Go Set a Watchman be read as a prequel or a first draft?

Note: This question is not about the reading order, it's about the style of Go Set a Watchman and what to consider it as when reading it.

  • Does this edit help clarify a bit?
    – user72
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 16:48
  • The edit does help to clarify, @Riker. Benjamin, I apologize for suggesting an edit without fully understanding your question. I suppose that might be part of the reason my edits still require approval ;-)
    – Shokhet
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 3:57

1 Answer 1


In general, I guess first drafts make great prequels, and should definitely be read afterwards. Think of The Hobbit, a lighter, less tense éclairage on The Lord of the Rings, which irony can only be perceived if Tolkien's masterpiece was read beforehand.

Go Set a Watchman does not escape this: the social tension that makes the book interesting can escape a reader - and certainly was much less central for the author - than in To Kill A Mockingbird, and for this reason reading the former in the light of the later would be my recommendation.

  • 2
    IMO The Hobbit should be your gateway drug to Tolkien. The Fellowship of the Ring is too dry to read as an entry into the universe, as a youth. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 22:43

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