Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Help (the novel)

I just finished reading The Help, by Katherine Stokette. The movie is coming out and I confess, it was the tipping point for me to pick up the book (even though I have a strict rule about not seeing movies made from books I've read, as they are always disappointing). I'd been hearing about this book for some time. Diane Rehm had a Readers Review of it last February, and I remember thinking then, "I should read that."

Well, I finally did. And I just loved it. So much of it is what I love reading about: the civil rights movement, the south, relationships among women, "the rules" of living. I think the best part of reading it was getting swept up in their world. I felt like I was there, living in Jackson, Mississippi. I felt like I knew these women and their struggles, their reasons, their lives. I kept thinking about the women in my life and how the different characters reminded me of them (Minnie seems to be well represented). I am always fascinated by those who can write about the universalities of friendship among women; how we make rules about things and think very little about them sometimes; about how we remember the wrongs done to us for forever, even when we wish we didn't; and about how we find a way, even in the worst of circumstances.

And the ending was just right, believable. I won't spoil it for those who have not read it, but it was hopeful, and I always like that. This book will go on the shelf next to The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; my go to reading when life gets to be too much. Thank you, Katherine Stockette, for such a beautiful piece of writing.