Thursday, June 10, 2010

A quick Booking It update...

I got The Help! I got The Help! And it was A.MAZING.

First recommended by another Booking It participant, I thought this book sounded great from the first mention. I quickly put myself on the waiting list at our local library. I took my kiddo and niece into the library for Story Hour last Thursday and renewed a couple other books and then found a quiet corner to read. As I was leaving a little while later - the girls from the front desk hollered at me and said a book I had requested was ready (in the 45 minutes between renewing my books and leaving) and it was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!

If you've read any Jodi Picoult then you've seen this style of writing...several people (in this case three women) telling the story every few chapters...each woman's story intertwining with the other stories. A #1 New York Times bestseller - this book is extremely well written and for so hard to even wrap my mind around.

Three women, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny are living in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962...not all that extraordinary until you realize Skeeter is white and Aibileen and Minny are black and are maids for Skeeter's friends. And Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's was not a friendly place to be for blacks or anyone who supported the movement of equality between blacks and whites.

Now...I don't claim to be a genius or to hide away from things that happened in the past or even currently but I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my mind around things. Events like 9/11 or Katrina hit me but I can't totally comprehend what happened in these places. I know about them because I'm a big news hound and will stay glued to the TV, newspapers and news websites for hours on end but really...unless you are there and experiencing it - how can one truly understand?

This book is the same thing...I know the history of the United States and slavery and how poorly blacks were treated but really? In 1962? This was happening? Really!? My mom was 10-years-old in 1962 and for some reason I just can't see my family having a maid (well, for one they were poor and for two they lived in Northern Indiana) and maybe if they had lived in Mississippi they would have but to me 1962 doesn't seem that long ago and it seems like the kind of treatment that happened in this book should have been long over...but I also know that it still happens - even today in 2010. It is just hard for me to even understand.

The flap says, "Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed."

An incredibly moving story...this is one book you shouldn't miss and one book you won't be able to put down until you've read every single page.


  1. I came over from and wanted to let you know ... that for most of us white Southerners, we did have a black family maid and this book is spot on. I would like to think that life didn't happen quite like this or that it was in another century, but I think that is what makes The Help such a best seller... it IS the story of those times.
    However, many of us feel like our black maids were and are our family members and we treat them as such. I am fortunate to still have my maid as a friend(in her late 80's now) who is like a second mother to me and my children. Her family thinks we are their family, too. I am part of that new generation which changed our tune with the civil rights movement and my son has been raised to be truly color blind, thanks to having friends of all races and ethnicities. What we can do in the name of love is huge.