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“The Help”—Book review

When I was in 2nd grade, I went to school with all the other white kids in my town. But by 3rd grade, the all-white school and the all-black school transformed into one elementary school for all kids and one middle school for all kids.

I thought nothing of it. Kids were kids to me. I loved 3rd grade. It gave me friends of all colors.

The_Help_by_Kathryn_Stockett But reading The Help shows a different perspective.

Set in a time just a few short years before my time, and just one state away, it’s a fictitious story about white families in Jackson, Mississippi, and their black maids.

It’s told from three viewpoints: two of the maids and one of the white women. You hear their dialects; you see their challenges; and you feel their pain.

I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain’t a color, disease ain’t the Negro side a town. I want to stop that moment from coming—and it come in ever white child’s life—when they start to think that colored folks ain’t as good as whites.

I’m glad that moment never came in my life.

But bigotry doesn’t come only in colors. We all have biases; we all have prejudices. Maybe it’s not against race, but it’s against something. I’m challenged to consider where I draw the lines. 

I watch Lou Anne slip away in the parking lot, thinking, There is so much you don’t know about a person. I wonder if I couldn’t have made her days a little bit easier, if I’d tried. If I’d treated her a little nicer. Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.

I highly recommend The Help. It can help you move your lines. Because not only is it engrossing fiction, it also holds convicting truth.

* * *I Read It at 5 Minutes for Books

Who hasn’t recommended this book? I officially added it to my list after both Katrina and Jennifer sang its praises. I’m so glad I did!



hip chick said...

I loved this book as well. I couldn't put it down.

denise said...

I finished this book pretty quickly. It was funny and a lot more complicated than I first thought. I didn't grow up this way but some of my family did. I hope to not pass on prejudices to my children. I know God will make it happen if I am seeking Him. BTW, go read Bonnie's blog post from yesterday. Not about The Help but something to jump up and down about.

Lynn Severance said...

Lisa , two things:

When I was in 2nd grade, my family ( military ) had moved from the west coast to the east coast. The story goes that my twin brother came home from school sometime that first week of classes and asked our mother, "Mom, am I a Yankee or a Rebel?"

Our of the mouth of babes!

Secondly, have you read James McBride's, "The Color of Water"? It is an older book but a classic in my eyes and a true story . I loved it. If you want something inspirational in this genre of racial integration - it is wonderful.


Lisa notes... said...

I actually read this book fast, too - in less than a week which is VERY unusual for me. ha. Some of the older generations of my family did grow up this way as well, right in the heart of Mississippi. Hopefully with each passing generation those prejudices will become more and more extinct.

I can’t seem to find Bonnie’s link! Please send it to me when you get a chance so I can hear the good news.

Lisa notes... said...

So do you remember how your mother answered your brother? :-)

I have not read “The Color of Water” but I just looked it up and my library has the book both in hardcopy and in audio version, so I will get it either to read or listen to.

FYI, I’ve been told that “The Help” is a fantastic audio book; I almost wanted to listen to it more than read it but the book came available first. I’m working on getting the audiobook for Jeff. I think he’ll love it, too.

Donna said...

Thanks for this review, Lisa.

I listened to portions of the book with my mother, who at one season in her life was "the help."

She and I laughed and talked through various stories in the book.

Maria said...

This book was my absolute favorite of 2009 and I recommend it to everyone! Loved it. Just discovered your blog through the FIR challenge blog. Lots of inspiration on your blog. I'll be back to explore soon!

Lisa notes... said...

I would love to have heard your mom’s stories. Except that I cringe at the thought that they might have been similar to some of the negative experiences in the book.

What a blessing that you have such a warm relationship with your mom that allowed you to talk and laugh through the book together.

Lisa notes... said...

I can understand your sentiments. I’ll be recommending this book, too. Obviously everyone who recommended it to me was right about it! It’s nice when that happens. :-)

Carrie said...

Ahhh, I am SO looking forward to reading it. Esp. with a closing argument like the one you gave!

A Dusty Frame said...

I really liked this book too.
It made me think a LOT.

I have only lived in the North, but my roots are Southern.

I hope that I would have been different, but it's hard to know.
It made me think!

Unknown said...

I would like to read it again. It really is powerful, but also so entertaining. I think that's what makes it SO good.

Lisa notes... said...

I think I'll listen to it next...It's supposedly great as an audiobook, too. (And that way I can also get my husband to "read" it - it's way too long for him otherwise. ha)


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