Thursday, April 16, 2009

Book Report

I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It's a very good book. I love her prose, and her characters are some of the most vivid I have ever encountered.

It's set in 1962, and it surrounds the lives of three women in Jackson, Mississippi: Aibiline, Minny, and Skeeter. I hestitate to say it's about relationships between black and white women during that time because to me, it's really more about the power of relationships than the colors involved.

Yes, some very bad things happened during the Civil Rights Movement, and I'm not going to act like there aren't terrible people in this world. I have a fair idea of who every character in that book is in Jackson society, and frankly, I'm glad their transgressions are printed in a bestseller. No bad deed should go unpunished.

But I am also thankful to have had the women in my life about whom that book was written. Mattie came to us when I was a babe in arms, and she has always been an integral member of our family. She was in our wedding, as a family member, listed right along the grandparents and siblings. I remember when she and Sister came to our house to show us her dress. She said she wanted our approval, but I wouldn't have cared what she wore; as long as she was a part of it.

And of course our families wouldn't have been complete without Daisy and C.J. Daisy came to work with my grandmother when my mom and uncles were little. She was actually 50 years old, but Daisy decided that nobody would hire a 50-year-old woman, so she told Cha-Cha that she was 45. When we celebrated her 55th birthday, Daisy suprised us all by revealing that she was actually 60!

I distinctly remember one year when we were picking up a birthday cake for Mattie. I had a school friend over that day, and she said, "I don't see why you're making such a big deal about this. She's just a MAID." But Mattie is so much more than a maid. She's a good friend, a confidante, someone to share life with and somebody my whole family loves. Black, white, or any other color doesn't mean anything when you're talking about family.



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