Book Club Gives Rave Reviews, Five Stars for "The Help" By Susan O'Keefe
Just considering the numbers is humorous! Combined, three thousand plus pages read and that's only this month's book! Almost thirty children among them, each squared away with babysitters, Dads-on-duty, or Grandma's night to keep 'em and it's all for what?! A BOOK CLUB?!
Give Oprah the credit or blame it on the 21st century craze to connect with gal pals as we get older. Perhaps it's the inner desire to ingest information then converse intelligently with a human being who does not suck his thumb (or toe for that matter), cry because a friend cannot come over today, or need her bottom wiped! Food is usually served and no one needs theirs cut for them so that's another bonus!
For this group of Conway ladies, the first Tuesday of the month must remain clear on the calendar. It is a necessity. It is an addiction. It is BOOK CLUB!
Recently discussed was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I can safely say the novel received rave reviews and a five out of five star rating! Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the height of the civil rights movement, this book captures readers' attention as maids and nannys Minny and Aibileen become family. Readers are quick to fall in love with these energetic women who exude maternal instincts, common sense, and the know how to remove a stain from anyplace in the house!
Ahead of her time and recent Ole Miss grad Skeeter dreams of excelling in writing yet her mother is only concerned with silver patterns and hooking a husband for her frizzy-haired, somewhat ugly duckling daughter.
As racial lines begin to blur, Skeeter takes a daring chance on the advice of a big wig New York publicist and sets out to write the stories of the southern, African-American women who have raised hundreds of White children in the still segregated south. Pen is put to paper and stories flow along with tears. Some tears from laughter. Some tears from an engulfing sadness that hatred of a person's skin color causes one to act in horrific violence. Hence the teenaged boy beaten with a tire iron simply because he used the wrong restroom when there was one marked white and one marked colored.
While exposing an incredibly tense time in our nation's past, Stockett is sensitive to difficulties on all fronts. I don't think the Jackson Junior League really cares about starving kids in Africa until Hilly, the venomous town ringleader, suggests they do. And while the League is terribly opposed to integration, how ironic they want to help Black kids in Africa.
It is impossible to read this book without grinning, guffawing, or even laughing out loud! One of my favorite characters, sweet but short a few marbles, was Mrs. Celia Rae Foote! She's described as white trash squeezed into a hot pink tight sweater with a bronze hairdo and bubblegum lipstick! Having said that, she ain't too shabby to work for, according to her maid Minny, who saves Celia Rae's life in a tousle with a streaker who literally appears out of nowhere!
The Help is a great summer read (or fall, winter, spring for that matter). It begs the question what am I actively doing to teach my children that we are all created equal? Do I embrace those with a different skin color? Or do I allow fear and prejudices of the past to control my beliefs? The Book Club discussion easily went ninety minutes before we realized tomorrow's a work day! I have lunches to pack! Ball uniforms have to be washed tonight! It's a small price to pay to be a regular at BOOK CLUB!