The Help

Picture by Dan Brady

I am reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I wanted to read it because it was about race.  Because it takes place in Jackson, Mississippi.  Because of all the hoopla – it was on the New York Times bestseller list.

It was written by a white woman who writes in the voice of black women.  In that way it reminds me of books by Wally Lamb.  When I read She’s Come Undone I did a double-take because I couldn’t believe that it was a man writing.  I haven’t done a double-take with The Help, but I think that Ms. Stockett has achieved believable black characters.

The book has had a haunting effect on me.  Probably because it takes place in the 60s when I was born and because I am mixed race and bi-cultural.  I have roamed between the races my whole life in one way or another.  So I feel comfortable in a world that is obsessed with race because to a great degree I have been.

It means something to me that the author cared enough to write the book.  It is touching, and I don’t mean that in an insulting way, that she cared so much for her own Nanny.  Race is so sensitive and I think it took guts for the author to write the book.  I bet she got a lot of flack for it in one way or another.  I tend to be apologetic at times for my feelings on the subject and you know what?  If I, being black and white, can’t speak freely, and not feel ashamed or embarrassed for my feelings on the subject, who in the world can?

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