Last week, I finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. And I really liked it. I ordered the movie from the library and am anxious for it to come it.
For those of you who don’t know, The Help is about life in the south during the Civil RIghts movement. There is a click of white women living in Jackson and there is the community of black women who serve as maids for them and their friends. One of the white women starts to drift away from the queen bee of the click as she begins seeing more and more things that are horrible to her about racism, despite her upbringing. She starts to see her other friend’s blind obedience to the queen bee and how willing she is to give up other friendships for it. The girl who drifts away from the pack is nicknamed Skeeter, for her being “painfully tall”and thus unattractive to men, and she suddenly begins seeking out the comfort of the maids and the stories that they eventually tell her. A journalist, she finds a job but ultimately gets her satisfaction from writing a controversial collective of anonymous maids’ stories serving white women and raising their children who inevitably forget their childhood loves and become just like their parents.
I see myself in Skeeter in a lot of ways, like how she wants to understand other people and isn’t afraid to say something’s wrong when it’s not right. One thing that doesn’t match up with Skeeter and myself, however, is the fact that she’s still so dependent on her parents. For example: “Goodbye, Miss Phelan. I hope you make the deadline,” she says, but before she hangs up, she mutters, “and for God’s sake, you’re a twenty-four-year-old educated woman. Go get an apartment.”
Another passage that stood out to me that I really liked at the time:
I slam the tennis ball into the blackboard, trying my best not to think about anything. Lately I’ve found myself praying, when I’ve never been a very religious person. I find myself whispering long, never-ending sentences to God, begging for Mother to feel some relief, pleading for good news about the book, sometimes even asking for some hint of what to do about Stuart. Often I catch myself praying when I didn’t even know I was doing it.
There was just something in Skeeter’s religionless-ness yet tendency to seek consolation in such a way that reminds me of myself or really anyone who feels weak and confused.
I also found The Help inspirational, like What if someone wrote a book like this about my own causes on the US Reservations? Maybe one day that will be me, that someone. Either way, you should check out the book. It’s long, but it goes by quickly and I think it offers a really unique perspective. And you know how obsessed I am with perspective.