Thursday, March 17, 2011
I just read The Help. You know how some books are so good that you can't wait to get to the end and see how it all comes out? Well, this isn't one of those. This book is so good that I didn't want to rush through it. I didn't want it to end too soon because there's no telling how long it will be before I pick up another book this good. I didn't want to leave Jackson Mississippi in the 60's. I feel I've been allowed into a world I would never have known otherwise, which of course, is what all good fiction does. The maids lives were fascinating, but so were the lives of the southern white women. When I was reading about women who spent their days telling the maid what to clean and how to care for the kids while they went off to the country club to play tennis or have lunch with their friends I couldn't help thinking about my own mother. We live on the west coast. My mother raised six children during the sixties, seventies and into the eighties. She did not have a maid. She did not even have an occasional babysitter so she could take a little time for herself. My father worked swing shift but like most men of the time period his presence meant more work for my mother rather than less. My mom did it all. When I look back on the tantrum throwing, foot stomping, hitting, screaming, crying, hair pulling, mud playing, snotty nosed little monsters we were, I can't help thinking how amazing it is that she didn't sneak out one night and forget to come back. Those spoiled southern women had no idea how lucky they were to have help. Or maybe they did. Change did not come easy.