The Help was stunning. If you need to leave and want a quick summary of what I thought of the book, that is it right there. This book was stunning. It was good-stunning; it was bad-stunning (but not in a bad way); it was attention grabbing stunning; it took the whole wide range of stunning and packed it into a 522 page book, as though with no trouble at all.
This book was well written, and had a strong and noticeably different voice for each and every character that had chapters written from their perspectives, and even the characters without chapters written from their perspectives were unique in personality.
The Help provided an in-depth look at a time period and an issue from a different standing point than normally offered to a reader of fiction (well, from what I have seen and read, anyways). I have read about slavery and black maids or servants, and all the abuse they had to suffer through, and I have read books about them escaping or trying desperately to escape from this, but it was always somewhere in the 1800’s or up to the 1940’s. And I had heard that these major issues, and related issues like racism, had continued on much longer afterwards – and still do – but The Help really brought it close to home. This book takes place in the 1960’s, which was when all but one of my aunts and uncles, and both of my parents, were born. People I see every day on the streets were alive during this time. Not just grandparents and great-grandparents who can say “Oh, I remember the days...”, but the generation just before mine. This reality was brought forward to me during the time that I read this book, and it really made me recognize that we have not distanced ourselves all that much in space and time from racism. We try our best to minimize and eliminate its presence, and every day we move a little bit more forward, but even today, fifty years after The Help took place, we see racism all around us, whether in the news or if we experience it first-hand, or if we see it happen to someone close by. It is not that I did not know this before reading this book, but the book made it a little more evident, a little more obvious to me, to someone who is privileged to live where and when I do.
So if you want a new perspective on all of this, and if you would like to read a well written book (which I hope that you do), then I most certainly do recommend you this book.
I hope you all had (and are having) a great week and a good New Year. We are currently writing the surprise content blog post, and it will be posted soon. (I hope you will like it!)