Dec 8, 2011

The Help

 

One of the best books I've read this year for sure. This has been in my To-Read list for days but when Vaish got me the hard copy of this book as a gift, and spoke highly of it,  I immediately picked it up. I was facing a kind of a reader’s block, and this book for sure jolted me out of it.

This book is a portrayal of three strong characters, all women, who do not have anything significant to look forward to in their lives, except to bring a change to the circumstances they live in. Three strong characters who looked out for each other, and had a non-conformist attitude. Three women who were the definition of girlfriends.

I’ve read Gone with the Wind and To kill a MockingBird, and have a fair idea on how bad it could have been for the African Americans to be living in a white man’s world, I’ve even compared it a bit to the Untouchability practised in India (even now in some remote areas), but what I read in this book made me think about the whole issue all over again.

My heart went awww everytime I read Aibileen’s behavior towards Baby Girl, I cried when I read the part where Constantine died just three weeks before Skeeter figured it out, I could feel the bile rise up everytime Hilly would say or do something, I couldn’t but help falling in love with Minny, feel pity for Celia, call Stuart a loser or laugh out loud at the whole pie story … In short, I went through a myriad of emotions during the 7 hours that I spent reading this book, all in a day. It was simply un-put-downable. Totally.

Here it is… my reading progress per Goodreads -

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I was left to thinking of all the maid’s I’ve had over these years (both the ones who brought me up till I was 5 and the ones whom I’ve hired) and how I’ve behaved with them and how they were with me. Was a mean person to them or would' mine be one of the good stories if they were all to write a book. :-)

One thing is for sure. Like how Skeeter’s Mom Charlotte says towards the end of the book –

Good help is like true love. You only get it once in your lifetime.

This morning as I see how my maid was helping me around the house, owning up to things and showing commitment in what she does, I involuntarily thought about these lines, and thanked Universe for making me lucky in this aspect. (Yes, I’ve been blessed with good help, all along) :-)

At the end, I cannot help but commend the way American society pulled itself together, and their change in outlook towards African Americans… Today they even have an African American president, which is such a big deal! I’ve begun to appreciate this much more after this book.

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