I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was an excellent EXCELLENT book! I *highly* recommend it. The last book I had checked out of the library was kind of tough to get through – I remember I had to renew it like 3 times. This book was over before the FIRST due date! Woah! The Help is the kind of book that you think about when you’re not reading it, that you have to read – just a few pages – before you go to sleep, but then several chapters later you realize you have to be up in 4 hours, that you read during meals, that you read in the car. I think you get my point.
The book was not only well-written, but it was very unique. I’ve never read anything like it before. Of course I learned about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement in school, but this book really illustrated how it bad things really were. I felt for these characters and got real insight into what race-relations back then were actually like. I can’t believe people were treated so horribly just a few decades ago!
It wasn’t just a depressing look into our shameful past, though. There was love and compassion and bravery and heroism! The book is about the African Americans domestic servants working for white families and caring for their children in Jackson, Mississippi. I know it doesn’t make any sense to do so, but I found myself praying that if I lived during the 60s I wouldn’t have treated people like they were nothing like some of the women in the book. One white woman, Skeeter, decided to write a book from the point of view of the help. She did so knowing that she could (and did) lose all her friends and respect in the town. She could have behaved the way all her friends did, but she chose to talk to the help and find out their feelings. At the beginning of the book, she asks one of the main characters, Aibileen, who works for her best friend, if she could, would she like to change things. That’s when the conversation begins that eventually leads to Skeeter interviewing the help for the book.
Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been way more emotional than I used to be so this book got to me several times. I think I mostly got emotional during the inspirational parts, and the parts where you could feel the hope that the characters had. They hoped they could affect some change in Jackson.
It really is an incredible story and a quick read. You should definitely pick it up if you have the chance.
On thing I took away from the book is the hope that things can and do change. Things that seem like the ‘norm’ at one point in history are thought of as UNTHINKABLE later in history – in the same place! And that gives me hope for the things I want to be different in this country.
I can’t WAIT to see the movie!
Have you read The Help? What did you think?