Monday, October 11, 2010

The Help

First happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Four day weekend for those of us in the Vancouver School Board, not sure it makes up though for losing my early dismissal Wednesday afternoons. I miss them! Oh well! While I was in a yoga class Friday morning someone nicked my car backing into a parking space. Fortunately he left a note and actually still was there so my car will be repaired free of charge but a bit of a bad start to the holiday. To cheer myself up I went off to the local library and in the fast read section found a copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The book had been recommended to me about six months ago by a friend so I was pleased to find it. My approach to libraries tends to be, "let's see what looks interesting on the shelf" rather than methodically putting in requests on line.
It was a perfect read, the kind of book you can't stop reading and because it is a holiday you actually can keep reading. I tend to be a late night, early morning reader.
It is set in the early 60's in Jackson, Mississippi. It is told from the point of view of three woman. Skeeter has just graduated from university and badly wants to go to New York City to work as a writer and editor while her mother thinks she should be finding a husband like her friends. The one job she finds is giving house cleaning advice in the local paper and she turns to her friend's maid, Abilene for assistance. In the meantime, Abilene's best friend, Minny, has just lost her job and can't get another due to a run in with one of Skeeter's friends. The book is told from all three women's points of view. With the assistance of these women, Skeeter ends up writing a book about what it is like being the Help. Although it seems doubtful to Abilene the times are changing. It's definitely a morality tale to some extent, and Skeeter's old friend, Hilly, has to be one of the nastiest women fiction has seen for awhile. Again the book tries to describe a situtation that seems almost indescribable to someone not brought up in this time and place. The book is soon to be made into a movie.

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