Tag Archive: The Help

Unlike my previous post about The Help, which was about my reaction to one of the character’s miscarriages, which I admit is still much on my mind, this will be more of a review of the book (or parts of it). I figured I may as well put out my two cents since I mentioned that I was reading it. Please note, I am not politically correct but out of curiosity, if you shouldn’t call a black person black, what the hell am I supposed to call a white person? And why is brown ok?

Everyone who pays attention to what I read knows that it’s a little of everything, but that I mostly stick to urban fantasy (I think that’s what it’s called?). This was the pick from my book club this month. They make me read things like Memory Keeper’s Daughter and Forgotten Garden and I make them read things like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and The Hunger Games.

I really enjoyed reading this, I’m not going to say that I found it as amazing as everyone else seems to (it’s like this book is everywhere right now), but I’d definitely recommend it even if it’s not your normal type of pick.

It blows my mind that there was ever a time when people (black and white…and Jew, I think they separated you guys too in the country clubs and that makes no sense, you guys are hot, right Mo? And where does everyone else fit in there?) had to use separate schools, grocery stores, movie theaters and bathrooms. I don’t like sharing a bathroom with Anyone but it has nothing to do with the color of their hiney and everything to do with the fact that I’m a bathroom germaphobe that has spent 15 years flushing toilets with my feet. The thing that blows my mind the most is that this was going on while my mom was a teenager still. Does that mean by the time our children are teens, gay bashing and same-sex marriage opposition will be a thing of the past? I can only hope.

The story is told from the point of view of two black maids and one of the white girls that want to change the way everything is. Aibileen is the sweetest woman in the world and you can’t help but wish she was your gramma. Minny is a sassy, take-no-shit-from-no-one, been fired a billion times in the same town for back-talking kind girl and I can’t help but relate to her. I’ve never been fired for back-talking before, but the only reason for that is that most of my bosses have earned my respect enough not to do so, I can make them apologize to me for being asses, or there was the one boss that I fought with …~ every 5 minutes and we called each other every name under the sun and then he’d make me sit down and read him a story (’cause that’s an admin assistants job). Then there is Skeeter who I thought was hated by her parents until I realized it was a nick-name from her brother that stuck. She’s the kind of awkward, too tall, unmanageable hair, really smart and nice but never gets a date girl that we can all relate to through our insecurities.  

One thing I really liked about this book though, from a fertilely challenged perspective, was that they included a character that can’t, try as she might, have a baby. I think it lists her at five losses and one of them is included in the book. She’s not a huge portion of the book, but I suppose she stands out to me. She’s also one of the most likeable characters in the book. She’s the “white trash”, married rich and miserable about it, no friends but her maid (as much as her maid will be her friend), and I’m not gonna lie, she’s not the sharpest crayon. But it goes through her story and  the whole time you think she’s super lazy and a little crazy. But as it goes on you realize that so much of her crazy behavior is all about trying to have a baby. She wont get up and mover around much and doesn’t leave the house for ~ the first six months of her story. After a while Minny catches her sneaking up to the rooms upstairs drinking. But she’s essentially put herself on bed rest trying to keep a baby and the secret “drinking” is a “catching tonic” from her local natives to help prevent miscarrying.

I love that it showed the crazy side of us that comes out in our desperation to have or keep a child. Maybe some people would find it insulting, seeing as she does seem a bit off the rocker, but I don’t. I think it shows what can happen to us and the fact that others don’t seem to understand what we’re doing and judge us for it. Even her unsupportive ass of a doctor gives her crap all the time.

I’m not sure how often novels show characters that have fertility issue. The seldom one I’ve seen over time just glosses right over the issues of repeat losses or infertility. So I have to say that when a story goes into the issue, even when it’s not a lot, I appreciate it, because it’s something that needs to be talked about more.

The Help. Have you read it? (this isn’t a book review)

I’m only ~ half way or a little more but I have to say I’m a little surprised with myself. If you haven’t read it, I’m not giving any real spoilers here so don’t worry. But I will say that I like the book so far.

So, I’m reading this and there is a scene where the maid is trying to get into the bathroom to check on her boss because she doesn’t believe her when she says “go away, I’m fine”. She gets in there and finds a bloody toilet and so on and so forth, finds that the lady has lost a baby. She proceeds to give her crap “If you were pregnant then why the hell have you been boozing it up” (Ok, those are my words, not theirs) and  the lady says it’s not alcohol but a “catching tonic” from the native tribe near where she’s from.

“You can’t trust them Indians. Don’t you know we poisoned their corn? What if she trying to poison you?”

Maybe I’m going to hell, I’ve never been politically correct by any stretch, but I laughed and laughed. I don’t recall anything about poisoned corn in school, but maybe in Canada we left the corn alone? Or maybe I just didn’t pay attention (which I didn’t really in social studies).

But what I realized was that I had read over that whole scene and laughed at the black maid who is pissed about the white people treating them like shit while she’s being racist to the natives.

When did this happen? At what point did I get to a place where I could read about a miscarriage (and it was a pretty similar bathroom scene to my last miscarriage too) and not be effected? Just keep on going like the rest of the story. I didn’t think that it would ever happen. It’s not like “You planted tulips? Hey, I planted tulips too!” <insert high-five for a shared experience here>

Part of me is happy about it. That means I’m moving on more, right? But then there is the part of me that thinks “How could you? You just glossed right over that like they were cooking.” It made me feel kinda heartless. I figure only people who’ve never experienced a miscarriage should be able to do that.

Am I healing or am I just so jaded that I’ve started to ignore everything?