for example, nabokov's lolita or bernhard schlink's the readerare both are fabulous books, and are worthwhile reads. but they are too one-sided to me. i'm aware that's a literary device, and creative license, and lalalalalaaaa...
but give me somethin' that i can sink my teeth in and hear a fuller version of the story.
the help by kathryn stockett is a talking book!
there are three different voices talking about what happens when the color lines get blurred in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. the world is on the verge of change, and it's starting to trickle south, as it were.
one thing i love about southern books, is everyone's got a nickname. think about the ya-ya sisterhood... and the help is no different. eugenia "skeeter" phelan has come home from ole miss with a degree and not an MRS like her all of her friends. she has aspirations different from the junior leaguers... skeeter wants to be a writer! sadly the only journalism job available in jackson is as the housekeeping advice columnist.
yep, there's a bit of irony there, as she's never done anything for herself because she was raised by "the help" too. but thru a series of events finds herself turning to aiblieen and minny, house maids, for help on the housekeeping column, and the column turns into a book about what it's like to be a black maid in mississippi.
in 2010, the civil rights movement is a moment in history that invokes a wide range of emotions for everyone, i'd suppose. for me, it was breaking out in goosebumps in the nashville public library's civil rights room with a lunch counter replica and ugly visions of peaceful demonstrations...
or being on the lincoln memorial with hot tears escaping down my cheeks with thoughts of dr. martin luther king having a dream for a better future while standing on the very same stepl...
or the anger, shame and disgust i feel by reading this book! these friends of skeeter's are steeped in a sweet tea of ignorance! and i know this is how the world was then, and how they were raised, but an initiative for every home having a separate bathroom for the help because they carry diseases that the whites can catch? really...!?!
the fear i feel for the help who are working with skeeter on her book, i can't help wonder what will happen when the book is completed. and what will skeeter do? will she continue to say thank you--and actually mean it--to the black women who wait on her? will what they're doing make any difference in the world in which they live?
i don't know...
obviously, i'm not done with the book yet... my ipod battery died this morning! i'm dying to finish it!!
however, here are a couple of other books I loved with good talk:
almost paradise by susan isaacs--certainly not high literature, but a good story told from two sides of a courtship, marriage, and betrayal.
the divine secrets if the ya-ya sisterhood by rebecca wells