Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book 39 of 52: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Helpby Kathryn Stockett is one of those books where I'm not sure I can add anything else to the pile of criticism. It was a wild success and turned into an Oscar-winning film (in an acting category).

So I will say only this: the book made me angry. Not just because of what the book portrayed or that Stockett is a white woman who wrote in three difference voices here, two of them black (which she addressed in an afterword to the book), but that while so much has changed since 1962, so much has stayed the same.

I didn't need to go back too far to illustrate why - I didn't even need to leave this week.

On Tuesday, Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court Justice, said that the 14th amendment was for all, not "only the blacks." Last night, Cory Booker became fourth black person to be elected to the U.S. senate, the first from New Jersey, and will be one of two black senators in the current senate.

Oh and then there was the incident of flying a Confederate flag in front of the White House. Not only is the flag incredibly offensive and representative of reprehensible period in our country's history, but it is even more wrong - and threatening - when waved in front of a black family's home, which is what the White House is.

So if you haven't read this yet - and a lot of you probably have - be prepared to have feelings about it other than what you're reading on the page.

P.S. I bought this for $.50 at the Collingswood Book Festival. One good thing about waiting to read big blockbuster books is that you can usually get them on the cheap a few years later (The Help was first published in 2009).



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