Tuesday, January 25, 2011


When I mentioned that I was reading this book at work, a fellow bookworm told me I was in for a good read. Since I am following it up with a book that she recommended, she laughed and said I was in for a great month of January books.

This book did not disappoint. This is one of my bookclub books, and other than knowing the title, I didn't know what this book was about before I cracked it open. The Help... I didn't expect it to be truly about the "help" down south, during the time of Martin Luther King...

What a great book - when I finished this in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I wondered, what do I read next? I grabbed a few of my normal escapist books, and well, they just didn't seem to measure up so I waited until I got back to work on Monday to pick up the book I had started there (In the Woods, by Tana French... which will appear here in a week, give or take). This is one of those books that isn't wrapped up all pretty and complete, it leaves you with some questions, and wondering how things are going to sort out. This is a story of people, about and without colour, what life was like in the 60s, life in Mississippi... I could keep listing tidbits of what this is about but truly, what a great book.

This is told from three main perspectives: Aibileen, Minny, and then Skeeter. Aibileen is an older black maid whose son has recently died, Minny a younger black maid with a sassy mouth and problems at home with five children, and Skeeter is a burgeoning writer that questions race relations, her own position in her white society who doesn't seem to fit in to her old world anymore. It is beautifully interwoven, and feels like it captures a bit of an essence of the time. Reading a book like this I wonder it will be like when I read about the 80s or 90s as my formative years and how they are treated in retrospect in novels...

You will laugh, you will perhaps shed a tear, but what a profound novel. One thing (of many) I will take away is the idea of planting positive thoughts in the minds of our children - telling them that they are kind, and smart, and that they are loved... simple, and yet can form such a solid foundation. I do this most of the time anyways, but when you think about it in a way to reinforce their being, and their potential... powerful stuff. This book is peopled by characters I will remember, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this book as a worthy read... I am sure it will make the top 5 reads of 2011.

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