April 5, 2012

Beautiful words, ugly history

I had extremely high expectations going into The Help  and I have to say that I was not at all disappointed.  I find it amazing that this was Kathryn Stockett's debut novel.  It is such a beautiful book.  As a white girl from the South, I have always had my back up about the sensitive topic of segregation.  I feel such disgust and shame that  human beings could treat other human being in such a deplorable fashion.  My mother was brought up by a black woman, Mary Lou, and I was fortunate to have met her as a small child.  (Imagine my surprise when I saw my own picture at her house!)  My mother had not only kept in touch with her but passed on pictures of me to this woman who had featured such a large role in her childhood and who she loved so strongly.  Their relationship was a positive one but just like in the book it wasn't always like that.  I once got to see Rosa Parks in Montgomery on an anniversary of her famous bus ride.  I felt like I was standing in the presence of greatness and this book kind of makes me feel something similar.  Yes, it is fiction.  However, the time period of the story and the emotions which are evoked by the narrative are very real.  These characters could have lived in Mississippi in the 1960s and these events could have unfolded just as the author describes them.  Poignant, heartbreaking, hilarious, and tense are words I would use to describe this read. GO NOW AND READ IT.

Okay, now that I've completely blown your mind I'd like to discuss what I'm going to read next: Stardust by the incomparable Neil Gaiman.  I felt like I needed something carefree and whimsical (and short because this thesis is killing me) this go around.  The basic gist of the tale is that a young man goes on a magical quest with a fallen star as his traveling companion.  Gaiman is known for his fantastical writing style and his attention to detail as well as his willingness to talk with anyone about the joys of reading and writing.  He's a pretty magnificent guy.  I can't wait to start it up (full disclosure: I started it months ago but got distracted)!!

I hope that you guys are loving this zany weather but my biggest hope is that you're all reading!!


  1. I cried when I read this. You remember things, wonderful memories of Mary Lou, that got me thru some rough times but I didn't realize it until you & I started talking about my childhood. Remember? We sat in the car, in the driveway, it was 2000. You write beautifully!

    1. Thanks, mama. I think about Mary Lou sometimes and I wonder about what stories she could have told us about her childhood. If I'd been more aware when I met her, I would have asked.

      Have you read 'The Help'? I think you'd enjoy it.