Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: The Help

"Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?"

"I used to believe in em (lines). I don't anymore. They in our heads. Lines between black and white ain't there neither. Some folks just made those up, long time ago. And that go for the white trash and the so-ciety ladies too."

"I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain't a color, disease ain't the Negro side a town. I want to stop that moment from coming--and it come in ever white child's life--when they start to think that colored folks ain't as good as whites."

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was one of the most profoundly beautiful stories I've ever read. Recently I've been called a 'Book Snob' by one of my friends (a self proclaimed book snob herself) because I'd mentioned a couple books I just couldn't get on board with. I talked about my problems relating to the characters, believing the plot/timeline/consequences etc. and I thought of a quote from a book I read earlier this year that said "reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones." I think that is absolutely true which is why it is such a treasure to me when I find such a gem as The Help.

The Help begins in 1962 in Jackson Mississippi and is told through the voices of three main protagonists. Skeeter is a recent college graduate who has moved back home to find the woman who raised her, her maid Constantine, is gone and no one will tell her what has happened to her. Aibileen is a black maid in her 50s grieving the loss of her only child who was killed a year or so earlier and is raising her 17th white child. Minny is the feisty black maid in her 30s who has recently lost her job and is working for the elusive new woman in town harboring secrets of her own. Pretty soon they find themselves brought together by the question of what is right and wrong, what lines are being drawn between white and black Mississippi? They are determined to start a movement of their own and forever change their town and the way they view one another.

One book review said "you'll catch yourself cheering out loud." I did several times. It was an emotional roller coaster as mistakes are made, triumphs are enjoyed, lines are crossed, rules are broken. Not only did I cheer out loud I also cried, gasped, laughed, name it.

I couldn't choose a quote so I've listen three but I've saved my favorite for now. It is the moment when Skeeter realized their fanatical revolution just might make a difference for people, but not completely in the way she thinks. She says "There is so much you don't know about a person. I wonder if I could've made her days a little bit easier, if I'd tried. If I'd treated her a little nicer. Wasn't that the point? For women to realize, we are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd through."

If I could I would buy this book for every person I know. Especially every woman I know. It deals mostly with civil rights among African Americans but it also touches on Women's rights. It deals with the relationship a person has to society, the ties that link people to each other, and the kindness that should transcend differences.

Stephanie and Georgia...if you haven't read this yet you HAVE TO. Mom you have to go read it too. Tell your friends all about it. It is incredible. NO WONDER I've only heard amazing things about it. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR HEART!


Stephanie said...

Thank you I will add it to my list! I am going to start reading "These is my words" today or tomorrow (FINALLY!!) I'll let you know what I think.

Georgia said...

Thank you so much for the recommendation. I am LOVING it! The only bad thing is I have to work during the day and all I want to do is go home, climb into my bed and read The Help.