Reading Corner – The Help

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett is OUTSTANDING. A fascinating, fabulous read. I thought the movie was good. The book was a million times better. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is worth seeing; I still say check it out if you haven’t. But I also encourage readers out there to pick up the book too. There is so much MORE in the book. This definitely ranks as a top favorite read of all time. (Thank you SO MUCH Jean for sending me a copy!) Kudos to Kathryn Stockett for writing such an outstanding debut novel.

I feel foolish, and even a little ashamed, that I really didn’t realize the way of life depicted in the story was such a short time ago. I mean the 60’s is barely 50 years ago! (You’re thinking, I KNOW.) Many, many people are still around that lived in these times. (Uh, huh. Where have you been?)

I have a better understanding of some things now, especially things I have encountered living in the south the last few years. When I encounter that random older gentleman who spouts racist or sexist remarks, I understand now that he never moved past the way of thinking that he was raised in and that he really can’t help his limited view of the world. Till now, I’ve just been appalled and unable to understand. It was all so before my time and completely beyond my comprehension in our current world. It doesn’t excuse the behavior by any means but at least I kind of understand where it is coming from now.

Between this book/movie and the tv show Mad Men, I feel like my eyes have been opened to the world of the 60’s and I’m fascinated. Fiction makes history come alive for me. It reaches me on a level that memorization of facts and dates and historical data never did in school. It places the information in a context that I can relate to and imagine. I know I was taught about civil rights, women’s rights, the history of our country, but I never absorbed the information in a way that it had any meaning for me. I was too young. Too detached. Too separated from the time period. Perhaps some of the ability to connect to the information comes with age and with relating to the passage of the years in a different way than you do when you are young. 50 years felt like AGES when I was young. Now, 50 years feels like a drop in the bucket. A lot can happen in 50 years, and yet a lot can remain unchanged in that same time too. When you are young, it is hard to look behind you and feel like the past has any connection to your present. I feel like I’ve broken through some invisible barrier that helps me see our cultural past more clearly and with a renewed perspective. It makes me eager to learn more, not only about this pivotal period in our history, but more about what it was it like for my parents and other living relatives who can remember these not-so-far-in-the-past times.

Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
~ Robert Ingersoll

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