The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

December 12, 2010

The Help

I don’t usually review any of the books I read, but I felt moved to do so for this one.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read this, not only was I moved by the love/hate relationship between white people and their black caretakers (a topic I am not extremely familiar with), but also the story made me think of the current civil rights movement involving the LGBT community. The parallel hit me in a way I wasn’t suspecting. Maybe if you read it you’ll see what I mean.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

December 11, 2010

Mississippi is like my mother.  I am allowed to complain about her all I want, but God help the person who raises an ill word about her around me, unless she is their mother, too.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

December 10, 2010

“But, as I said, I have made a decision.”

I nod, listening, with the same numbness as my father a moment ago.

“I have decided not to die.”

Who knew paper and ink could be so vicious.

The booklet is simply a list of laws stating what colored people can and cannot do, in an assortment of southern states.  I skim the first page, puzzled why this is here.  The laws are neither threatening nor friendly, just citing the facts:

No person shall require any white female to nurse in wards or rooms in which negro men are placed.
It shall be unlawful for a white person to marry anyone except a white person.  Any marriage in violation of this section shall be void.
No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls.
The officer in charge shall not bury any colored persons upon ground used for the burial of a white persons.
Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them.

I read through four of the twenty-five pages, mesmerized by how many laws exist to separate us.

… [He] kissed me so slowly with an open mouth and every single thing in my body – my skin, my collarbone, the hollow backs of my knees, everything inside me filled up with light.

On day three, Mother calls up the stairs to ask what in the world I’m doing up there all day and I holler down, Just typing up some notes from the Bible study. Just writing down all the things I love about Jesus. I hear her tell Daddy, in the kitchen after supper, “She’s up to something.”

I give in and light another cigarette even though last night the surgeon general came on the television set and shook his finger at everybody, trying to convince us that smoking will kill us.  But Mother once told me tongue kissing would turn me blind and I’m starting to think it’s all just a big plot between the surgeon general and Mother to make sure no one ever has any fun.