“The Help”

“There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism.”

-Howell Raines

I just finished reading Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help.” It was truly an inspirational text which in my opinion deserves the praise and recognition it is currently receiving. A movie is set to be released on August 12, 2011 according to imdb.com starring: Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Allison Janey. Consider me excited!

Reading this book has inspired me in many ways I’d never even dreamed. Through reading this book, I regained a love of reading for pleasure I haven’t truly experienced since five years ago when I was in high school. Also, it was recommended by Loman’s mother and through reading the book, I think my eyes were opened to a world I’d only heard stories and read vaguely about in textbooks years ago. I was, for the first time in my life, immersed in the world that she grew up in and was able to better understand her in many ways I never could before. I think its safe to say the same for her regarding me. There is so much to be learned from this book as it can be applied to more social contexts than just race relations between blacks and white.

Set in Jackson, Mississippi, Stockett paints a beautiful picture of life in the 60s. I have no way of knowing how accurate her depictions are but based on my own knowledge and the care she has taken to intertwine historical events and occurrences throughout the text, I almost feel as if I am there–a fly on the wall of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter’s minds. I learned more from this book than I ever have from history books, reading biographies of reading civil rights activists, etc. Perhaps, this is because of the intimate relationships formed throughout the text and the progression of those relationships. I am a social learner, after all, and thus it makes more sense that this would appeal to me.

Clearly, I am enthralled with Stockett’s first novel; I can’t wait to read other things from her. It’ll be interesting to see and hear Loman’s reactions to the text as he’s up next for reading it as I embark on a completely different journey: “Eat. Pray. Love.”

“We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

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