Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Lisa reviewed this book quite some time ago and I put it on my to-read list then. It interested me for several reasons and all of those reasons led to my eventual enjoyment of the book.

While I was reading, I was reminded of growing up and spending Spring Break and summer vacations with my great-grandmother and grandmother, respectively. The former lived in small town North Carolina and the latter in an affluent area of New York. While those worlds were very different, what my grandmother learned from growing up in that small, country town followed her to the "big city." I remember wondering why we never crossed the railroad tracks in Hertford and why my grandmother demeanor was the way it was in Great Neck. I didn't grow up picking cotton and tobacco as a child, nor was I raised with an inherent fear/reverence of white people. The differences were evident and this book continues to help me understand, as an adult, why that was.

All that to say, this book took me back to the days when I used to visit my grandmother at the house where she stayed on the weekends, working for a wealthy white family. It made me think of what that life must have been like for my foremothers in another time, in another place. The book felt very real and true and I felt the gamut of emotions while reading: anger and frustration, pride and fear. I was also quite impressed that the author was able to tell such a tale using the voice of those that lived the life that she did not.

I was so intrigued that I plan to read Telling Memories Among Southern Women: Domestic Workers and Their Employers in the Segregated South, the book that inspired the author to write The Help.

This was a library book so I do not have it to pass along.

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