Friday, March 4, 2011

The Help

Having a job where I work with teenagers, I have come to realize that they  have a very limited view of the world.  Pretty much it revolves around them.  If it doesn't directly impact their life it is unimportant.  Anything they don't remember happening was "forever ago."  Olden days means anything from the 70's to the middle ages. I was talking to a couple of girls about Bridge to Terabithia.  They told me it was a "really old book."   I didn't think that it is that old.  I remember when it came out,  in 1987.    It always surprises me when I talk about things I think they should know and they have never heard of it. Things like... Desert Storm.  That was only a couple of years ago, right.  Better yet... the Olympics being in Salt Lake. Most of them don't even remember that, and it really was just a couple of years ago.  About a month ago, I was driving home from work, when I had an epiphany.  Now we all know that the 60's were forever ago.  We are talking ancient times.  (We won't mention that my mom, who I don't think of as old remembers the 60's.) Anyway, I had this thought and I started doing some math in my head while I sat at a red light.  The amount of time from when I was in junior high to the 60's is the same as today's kids are from the 80's.  That just really freaked me out.  My childhood is as ancient history as I always thought the 60's were.  I find it interesting that I can look back now as an adult and say that the 60's really weren't all that long ago.  It is amazing how much has happened and how much our culture has changed in so relatively short a time. 

This ended up being a much longer preface than I intended it to be, but I thought that it went well with the book I just read, which happens to be about... the 60's.

The Help by: Kathryn Stockett.

I first heard about this book from my Mother-in-law.  I think that someone at her work had recommended it.  She told me that I would really like it.  I meant to read it, but just didn't get to it. Then in September, when my book club selects new books, someone suggested this book.  About a third of  the group had read it before, but they were still interested in doing it.  I was excited about reading it. I asked for it for Christmas, but no one got it for me.  I knew there was a waiting list at the library, but I never got around to putting my name down.  I finally ended up going to the store and just buying the book.  At thing point there was only about a week and a half until book club, so I stayed up late several nights to get it done on time.

The Help takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962-1964.  It is about the black women who go into white homes as maids.   It is told in first person from the point of view of two black women and one white woman. The book deals with the different levels of society and what was expected of people in thier social realms.  I really enjoyed the book.  I thought is had some really believable characters, and I felt that she did a good job of incorporating the history into her story.  Some of the history I was familiar with, while other tidbits I didn't know and found very fascinating.  The book does not have many big events, but is more about the day to day life of the characters.  Despite this fact, it was still full of suspense.   I wanted to find out what happened, to know why characters were doing the things they were. At the same time I didn't want to read more because I knew the kinds of things that happened then and I didn't want them to happen to these characters I had come to care for. I found that I was often anxious while reading, with horrible predictions running though my head.  I am glad that I purchased this book.  

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