Monday, August 8, 2011

The Help

I am such a stubborn person. If you know me personally then this isn’t new information. While working in a bookstore this book was released and people couldn’t get enough of it. Everyone was buying a copy and raving about it. So, because I’m stubborn and make no sense, I pushed it aside and refused to read it. Why? I’m not even sure. No, wait, I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon when everyone else was obsessing over it. Because I am stubborn.

Insert a year or so and now I get wind that The Help is being made into a motion picture. It seems that Hollywood is doing that a lot lately - making books into films. And I’m relatively quick to see these films, however, I always try to read the books first. So, I stopped being stubborn and got the book on my Kindle. I opened it, curious to see how it began (I always look to see how books start, forever reading the first page before I usually getting around to reading the book) and I couldn’t put it down.

It’s a thick book but I flew through the book and enjoyed every moment. See, for the past few months I’ve tried to stick to the more relaxing, happy, short books. It’s been all that I can concentrate on with an assortment of less than happy things going on in my life. So this was my first serious book since my life became topsy turvy. And I loved it… I see why there was such hype and so many customers would tell me to read it.

The book is told from three perspectives. Two black women who are maids in white homes in Jackson, Mississippi and another woman, Miss Skeeter, a white woman who is breaking away from the typical expectations of the southern 1960’s woman.

While Miss Skeeter is expected to get herself married because, my goodness, she is a whole twenty-three years old and single, her educational endeavors are looked down upon. She has a degree and it seems like no one finds it important or an achievement in any way. God forbid a woman in her twenties isn’t engaged or married.

There was something more than this. Aside from Miss Skeeter being single, she was also tall, thin, her hair wasn’t perfect, and goodness how will she ever get a husband looking like that?

I immediately related to this woman on so many levels. I’ve heard comments pertaining to my height and the height of women in my family. We’re all above average and closer to six foot than anything that’s considered ‘petite’. People have commented, “But you’re so tall” as if it was something disgusting. “You wear heels?” As if it’s completely incomprehensible that I, a woman of 5’9”, would even dare to consider wearing heels. The comments continue, “You’re twenty five and you’re not dating anyone? Oh, we know you’ll never marry.”

The other women of the story (Minny and Aibileen) are trapped by the presence of people who are fearful of difference and extremely racist. They cannot look at a person who is different from them and see nothing but separation. Minny and Aibileen may suffer some weaknesses but they are so strong and brave. I just fell in love with all of the main female characters. This was a book that days after I had finished reading it I was still trying to grasp words to describe how wonderful it is. I still was struggling to express my feelings because it was just that good.

I can say for sure that I will definitely be seeing the movie once it's out in theaters and I am telling everyone I know to please pick this book up and read it. It is worth the hype. It isn't a romantic story, it isn't flimsy, it's real and tough, sometimes funny, often sad, but just so well written that the words completely transport you to Jackson, Mississippi during an important time in American history. Grab the book and give it a read before the film comes out and also check out the trailer to the movie down below!

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