Okay - not me. You don't need to help me (you can breath a big sigh of relief right here). Although, if you have an extra hour or two to spare, you can send that my way, because I sure could use that!!
No, this isn't about that kind of help. It's about this Help. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, to be specific.
I haven't been as thorough as I'd like to be about writing what I'm reading. Fact is, I'm reading more than I can write about, which is pretty darn cool when you think about it. Books that I don't have much to say about, I'm just putting to the side, but this book I have to RAVE about. RAVE I tell you.
Am I the last one in the world to read it? I know it just came out last year, but everyone and their kitchen sink has recommended it, so I feel like I'm the last one on the bandwagon here, but that's okay. I'm on it now. And if you haven't read this book, you absolutely should. Join our bandwagon. It's a heck of a ride.
When I told a friend she needed to read this book, she asked what it was about. I kinda scrunched up my nose and said, "Well, if I tell you what's it's about, it won't sound that interesting. It's much better than it sounds." Because this is the vague synopsis:
The Help is about three women from unlikely backgrounds that band together to make a difference during the 1960s civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi.
I suppose if you are a civil rights fanatic, or if you love historical fiction from that era, you might be salivating at that, but personally, I wasn't. I picked this book up because everyone said I needed to. And because someone who has impeccable taste in books and from whom every suggestion I've taken I've loved recommended it. And because she said the southern voice in the book reminded her of Babs' voice in my own debut novel.
(which, I must digress for a moment, is the hugest compliment I've ever gotten, but which is probably overly generous, because reading this book made me want to hide anything I've ever written in shame)
As I've been writing my commentary for school, though, I've come to realize this about the book:
It's about secrets.
Oh yeah, baby, a TON of secrets. Women hiding things from their friends, from their husbands, from the readers. There is the tension through the entire book that if even one of these secrets is spilled, the universe will shift on it's axis, lives will be lost, people will be maimed, love will be killed, worlds will be changed.
They are secrets, TONS of secrets, that come with dire consequences. One character does something in the beginning that is afterwards only referred to as "the Terrible. Awful." Tell me if that isn't attention grabbing.
And these women - these amazing characters - are so real, and alive, strong and full of gumption, that you will WISH you were their friends, wish you were in on their secrets.
I can't say this about very many books, but I was hooked from the very first page. The first paragraph. The voices (there are three of them) are so engaging and unique and well done, you will be sucked in immediately.
This book is 451 pages, including the acknowledgment and the author's notes at the end, all of which I read. I began and ended this book in one day. It is that good.
(I don't know what the cover is supposed to mean though. I'm guessing the three birds represent the three main characters, and the two black maids are the two together and the one white gal is the one on the other side, but ...um...yeah. That's all I've got. There are no birds in the book, so I'm at a loss for what it means. It's beautiful though.)