Here I am at book group again and this month our group read a history sharing novel called THE HELP.
It was published in 2009 and is the author’s first novel after working in the magazine industry for a period of time.
I like books that tell history through fiction and this book is about the maids who work for the white socialite women of Jackson, Mississippi during the turbulent 1960’s.
Ms Stockett’s characters are almost charactures which do not really move into the depth of the individual but this makes the story more dynamic and “real”. The maids are not allowed to have opinions or voice, so the internal voices they share just provide the valuable insight that they are indeed humans and not robots.
It is a woman’s novel in that it once again shows that when people can communicate and interact – band together they can create change and bring to light oppression, prejudice and racism.
I believe the white women in this society were just acting out of their narrow boundaries and the huge expectations on them to create successful, powerful, husbands. By having them live out their respective roles in the story, the reader is able to understand the depth of the stereotyping and the courage that it took to strive for change and human status.
The book is very easy to read and one can invest in the characters and identify. The HELP were very busy raising the children in these homes and providing strong nurturance, food and cleanliness to keep the order operating at peak performance.
The book is timely as the US Congress struggles to accomplish anything, when these old school tactics are being used in a massive “stand off” against the citizens – control by the few and isolation of the many is always enslaving.
This book shares the lessons of history well and I would hope lots of students of American History would tuck it into their list to make the lessons real .
I am also studying Howard Zenn’s work: The People’s History of the United States and this was a wonderful companion.
A good read.
I read this book on my KINDLE and KINDLE on my PC and iphone apps.
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