Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Help

This is THE best book I've read in a looonnnng time, even better than Guernsey, and you all remember how taken with that book I was.

It takes place in the early sixties in a small town in Mississippi.
It tells the story of a young, but oh so courageous, white woman, who decides to tell the stories of the black housekeepers, who are often horribly mistreated by their 'mistresses', yet love and care for their children as if they were their own, but also suffer daily humiliation, sometimes in the form of sharp commands, or just having their presence ignored.
The story is gripping, I couldn't put it down for days, yet, hated to see it end.
It's a subject I've never given any thought to, though I remember well how beholden my own mother was to our black maid, Lillian. She spoke of her often. I don't remember her, except mostly through stories, but I do attribute my desire to always having the radio on to her. That's a faint memory in my life. I can almost see her ironing to music or feel my little self being comforted in her bounteous lap with the radio playing in the background.

Mrs. Stockett's writing was superb and, while the subject didn't call for humor, she found some places to inject some intense scenes that made me laugh out loud.

So, Willie, now to the Lucy Pants, the water aerobics, I now get to add the Help!
Fair trade for Chief's?


Willie said...

Fair enough! How did I live here 12 years without knowing about Chief's??? Or La Colonia??
I'm so glad you liked the book. It is a subject so dear to my heart, I hesitated recommending it, in case it was only special to me.

DH 2Travelers said...

I am blown away that I never knew, Ann, that your family had "help" as you were growing up. I guess we did, too, although they were local High School girls that would come in to do things my mother didn't want to (or have time to?) do: ironing, grocery shopping, supervising me after school - stuff like that. My mother worked (for herself) all my growing up years - so we did have "help", but not ... black women.
I CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK. Willie, I can't believe you didn't recommend this to me !!!

-- Davi

ann said...

We didn't exactly have help everyday, just on rare occasions.
Probably when both my brother and I were babies.
My mom had very problematic pregnancies.
When she was not well later in life, we had someone (in a nylon uniform) come clean occasionally. Her name was Willie, a long distance cousin of Lillian in Oklahoma.