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"According to the St. George Register,on a clear night last June, at some time between eleven and half-past, my mom--who isn't anything like this--tiptoed down to the basement of the house I grew up in with a Big Boy .44 Magnum in her hands. AT the foot of the stairs she knocked on the door to my Dad's den."
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: GP Putnam And Sons; 1 edition (Feb 10 2009)
The Help was just exactly what I hoped it would be. I am a HUGE fan of books about interracial relations, even before I became an adoptive parent of a child of different skin color than my own I was always interested in the topic. Two of my favourite books were Cane River and The Book of Negroes, and although The Help is not set in slavery times it is set during the Civil Rights movement and therefore a fascinating take from the maids points of view as well as the white folk who hired them.
The narrative is told from several different perspective, Skeeter, a white young adult who has always dreamed of being a writer, she finally sees her chance when an big time editor challanges her to write a book of stories of at least a dozen colored maids in the employ of their white families in Jackson Mississippi. The thing I didn't realize is that at the time the violence that was brewing among the cultures was ultra disturbing. People were getting their tongues cut out and hung and tortured and of course killed, just for trying to bring equality to America. I mean I knew things like this happened but to read about it, and especially from the black community perspective was very powerful. Tension mounts as the women attempt to tell their stories in extreme secrecy at the expense of getting fired, ostricised or worse. Along with these storylines is Skeeter's coming-of-age, which is a nice addition to the book, we were all single young women once, with or without a controlling mother so her journey is very relatable.
The relationship between the maids and the white children they love as their own was the most touching to me, including Skeeter, who's own childhood maid disappeared under mysterious circumstances. These woman absolutely loved these kids, and the kids loved them hard right back. In some cases the maid was the only parental figure these children had! In the arms of their maid they would feel loved, cherished and important to someone. And the stories Abileen tells her young charge are very moving, she is determined to not let the current underlying the waters in Jacksonville tow her precious Baby Girl under.
"Soon as I walk into her nursery, Mae Mobley smile at me, reach out her fat little arms.
"You already up, Baby Girl? Why you didn't holler for me?"
She laugh, dance a little happy jig waiting on me to get her out. I give her a good hug. I reckon she don't get too many good hugs like this after I go home. Ever so often, I come to work and find her bawling in her crib, Miss Leefolt busy on the sewing machine rolling her eyes like it's a stray cat stuck in the screen door. See, Miss Leefolt, she dress up nice ever day. Always got her makeup no, got a carport, double-door Frigidaire with the built-in icebox. You see her in the Jitney 14 grocery, you never think she go and leave her baby crying in her crib like that. But the help always know."
One of my favourite parts of the book is the way that Abilieen talks. I absolutely hands-down LOOVE it. Sometimes it made me laugh. One of her expressions is "Law." As in "Lord" or "LAWD", but she just says, "Law." Damn clever, that Kathryn Stockett, if you ask me.
" I watch her through the window, stomping off toward her house. Miss Hilly ain't somebody to mess with. Law, maybe I should a just kept it to myself."
ANYway, a GREAT read and I highly recommend it to ANYONE. Oh, except for one part that made me slightly cranky. In a I-can't-believe-she-went-THERE kind of cranky. It is pretty disgusting, but instead of spoiling it and making your all cranky before you read it, I'll just give a hint for anyone who knows of what I speak, it is the PIE SECTION.
Is all I have to say.
Now that I have read an entire book on my Kindle and I'm no to number 2, I feel like I can say a few things pro and con about the thing.
A) It's super handy. I have a great case and lug the thing around, and I don't have to worry about getting my prestine books all scratched or God forbid accidentilly FOLDED on any pages or covers. Most of my books look brand new, and I am pretty anal about the whole thing. My house in general looks like a truck stop, but my books? The Vatican.
B) It's light weight and there is ZERO EYE STRAIN. I mean ZERO. This was my biggest worry, and I can tell you right now crossing my bloggy heart that you can read this book FOR HOURS and it will not strain your cute little eyes one IOTA.
C) You can buy a book within 60 seconds. Okay this is kind of a pro AND a con really. Depending on which side of the wallet you are sitting on. For me, a self confessed book-o-holic and serious impulse control dabilitated human, this actually is as HUGE pro. There have been times where I have literally screeched my tires just before the bookstore closes and run in to buy something. For my husband, not so much. CLICK CLICK and I have just purchased a 12 dollar book.
A) It is not a physical book. Now I don't mean this in the way I thought I would before owning it. What I mean is, sometimes I just need to flip thru the book to check something, get sense of what is happening or not happening. Take the 19th wife, for example, each chapter has a weird name so I was totally confused as to what the hey was going on. Example: Chapter 3 or 4 is called, "The 19th Wife: Chapter One"... uh, wha? And then another chapter is called IV. The Origins of Love THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHAUNCY G. WEBB... and another chapter is a quote from Wikipedia. So without the physical book in front of me it was a bit tricky to try to "flip" around the sections to get an overall sense of what was going on.
B) If you need to exit your book for any reason, like to check the table of contents, and you forget to bookmark it, you're hooped.
C) If you want to find a quote or to find a part like, "Hey, what was that part I read? What did that mean?" It is a total pain in the rear to try to find it.
D) I have no idea what page I'm on, or how many pages I have left to read. Now granted it tells me what percentage of book I have done, but for my book brain I just can't seem to grasp it. It is actually more relevant near the end, cuz at the end of The Help I had no idea if I was on my LAST page as it said I was at 99%, and so when I hit "Next Page" and there was nothing, I thought, "Oh, okay that is the end I guess." And had to re-read the last few sentences in a total new frame of mind like, "Okay... the END."
So all in all, I totally love it.
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