But, I never promised that it would just be stitching and writing… anyway enough trying to make myself feel less guilty on with more books : )
The Help was recommended to me by a friend of my fathers. She sold it to me as the story of a young journalist who wants to make a difference and writes about the racial and class divides of Mississippi in the early 60s. So it doesn’t take rocket scientist to work out why it appealed…
All of that is true of The Help, but it is also much more. Miss Skeeter is the young journalist in question and whilst she writes the book within a book I don’t hear her voice above the others. The story is told through three main voices. Skeeter, Minny whose “cooking is almost as sassy as her tongue” and Aibileen who joins them together. As a result for me it is Aibileen who stands out. She is raising her seventeenth white child and the relationship between the two is paramount for the power of the story. You see her waiting for her beloved baby, not hers by blood but by care, affection and to a lesser extent job, to realise they are different. To grow, or be “educated” into prejudice. For me this was the most touching part of the book, I mean what is racism anyway if it isn’t ignorant, narrow-minded, disgusting, unjustified, ridiculousness? Anyway, this is the 60s, it is Mississippi, racism is not only “normal” it’s a way of life and a means of structuring society.
The Help has that magical ability to make you laugh and make you cry. As I reached the closing chapters I found myself stalling myself in a fruitless attempt to prevent it ending, which is always a good sign. Especially as, up to that point, I had been reading it greedily.
I recommend it to anyone who is interested in social history and seeing it from a unique perspective, but read it quick as it is being released as a film this year