The Help…I wouldn’t call this a book review, but it is about a book.

by Caton McKenna

Recently, my mom recommended that I read a book called The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. She kept telling me that it reminded her of my students. Now, keep in mind, everytime I have a teaching concern mom will refer me to the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” because “he deals with the same issues.” The similarities aren’t that obvious to me, so I took her review with a grain of salt (what does that even mean, I take everything with a grain of salt, it adds flavor and…poundage).

Anyways, I finally got around to reading it, after carrying it in my purse all over Nashville for a few weeks. This is no small feat because it is hardcover and weighs approximately .8 pounds, which is more lifting than I care to do. Somehow, in my mind I will have some free second to read the book, and I definitely don’t want to get caught off guard without a book AND NOTHING TO DO. The horror.

After finally taking the book out of my purse one night, I started reading.

This book is great. On a scale of 1-10 it’s an 8, but I’m a harsh grader, just ask my students (or my dates who are judged on creativity of date, appearance, humor, etc.)

Without giving too much away, the premise of the story is that a young white woman solicits and writes the stories of black female house maids during the tumultuous 1950’s-1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi. Their stories are humorous, horrifying and especially revealing of the chasm between blacks and whites during the civil rights movement. Writing these stories were a danger to the black women and the white sympathizer; a risk all women knew was an important and necessary undertaking.

I love the female strength (girl power!), touching relationships and surprising character development I witnessed in its pages.

The Help is definitely worth the read and perhaps worth the purchase. Use your best judgement based on the pinot-gritio insprired review above.

Here’s to new beginnings, Stuart says and raises his bourbon. I nod, sort of wanting to tell him that all beginnings are new.

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