The Help

It has been years since I have been able to get so completely lost in a book that nothing else exists – not TV, not texting, not social media. I took two breaks from reading – first to make and eat lunch, second to watch the sunset. The latter I also haven’t done since last summer, about this time.

It’s also been at least a decade, maybe more, since I spent an entire day doing nothing but read – laying on the couch, one-handed while I make dinner, on the porch in the morning and evening breezes, in the recliner with my back to the setting sun, stretching each moment as long as possible. I do dislike turning on the lights.

The Help is a fabulous book. I cannot believe it has taken me so long to finally read it. Yes, it is so much better than the movie (which I loved). Each narrator’s life leapt off the page – I laughed out loud, I wept, I was outraged, I was completely enthralled for 13 straight hours. Though it is complete and the ending was perfect, I cannot help but wish there were 13 more hours of it left to experience.

I’ve never been to the deep south, so I have very little concept of what life is
or has been like apart from movies, tv shows, novels, and – of course – documentaries. Having not grown up with Jim Crow or segregation, I cannot really understand the mentalities, the fears, and the violence. But as I look at this novel and Skeeter’s transformation – from someone who smiled, nodded, and kept her eyes down to someone who studied, questioned, and embraced change – I cannot help but be torn. I cheer for the improvements, the heroes but I’m heartbroken for those still living in dread of abusive partners, unfit parents, broken school systems, and degrading self images.

I’m ending this post frustrated. Words cannot describe what I’m feeling, but I want to get it out of me while it’s still fresh, without a night’s sleep to subdue the reaction. This is not a review so much as a ramble – but please understand I want you to read The Help… if you haven’t already.

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