Monday, August 1, 2011

The Help

I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a recommendation from Alisa of Daily Violets. I am thankful to my friend for turning me on to such a wonderful book and I am so glad I finished it before the movie came out.

A few weeks ago, I learned that a friend and colleague was reading the book too. I squealled and asked her, "How far along are you?". A moment later another co-worker walked up and asked my friend if she was pregnant. We had to laugh when we realized the miscommunication. This is how rumors get started, right!

The Help is the best book I have read in quite a long time. I rank it up there with The Secret Life of Bees. The voices of the characters are so authentic. I applaud Kathryn Stockett the bravery it took to write about issues of race as a white woman. She is a masterful story teller.

Now that I live in the South, race is on the forefront of my mind. One of the reasons I moved to Savannah, Georgia, was to live in a city that was more ethnically diverse than my former city of fifteen years, Santa Cruz, California. Santa Cruz, while being a very liberal town, is ironically pretty darn white. I want my daughter to grow up with friends of different cultures and races. We live in a global society and it is long past time for all of us to learn to play together nicely.

I work in an office building and there is a woman who works here with me. She empties my trash can twice a day, vacuums my cubicle and cleans the office bathroom, amongst other duties. I heard that her predecessor was fired for being caught sitting down on the job.

As a green freak I will empty my trash into my neighbor's, so that another plastic bag isn't put into the landfill on my watch. I think she thinks I am just trying to help her. She laughs at me. I can't stand sitting at my computer while she cleans around me.

I asked her what her mother did for work and she said she comes from a long line of janitorial workers. I told her about the book and movie. I am so curious what she will think about it. I thank her every day and we make small talk. I wonder if I annoy her.

Stockett's book, while based in the early sixties, is extremely relevant today. It makes you think about how far we have come, when it comes to race relations, and how far we still have to go.

1 comment:

Alisa said...

I agree, great book! I wish you were closer, we could see the movie together!