I heard the trailers for the film The Help on the radio a few months ago and thought it sounded like an interesting film. I was going to watch it but then I realised it was based on a book. I decided to wait and read the book first (it's best that way, in my opinion).
So I bought the book and it had been waiting very patiently on my to-be-read tower ever since. I have only just got round to reading it and I'm glad I did. Even though I didn't devour it with quite so much desperation as Afterwards, I enjoyed it just as much in a more gentle manner.
ENTER A VANISHED WORLD:
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, 1962.
WHERE BLACK MAIDS RAISE WHITE CHILDREN,
BUT AREN'T TRUSTED NOT TO STEAL THE SILVER
There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and relay upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...
Again, this wasn't my usual chick lit but I found it compelling. At times it was amusing, others it was heartbreaking. Other times it made me angry that such attitudes existed (and still do in some cases, unfortunately). There were three distinct voices telling the story - Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny but the changing of perspective never interrupted the flow.
As well as a great book, it was also a good tool for opening up a discussion about segregation with my 8 year old. She asked what I was reading and I explained and while it may not be a pleasant topic, I feel it's an important one.
I thought The Help was a moving and powerful book and I can't wait to see if the film.