Monday, May 2, 2011

The Help

is the name of the novel I just finished reading. I would consider it as historical fiction as it includes many key events that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. I gotta tell you, it's definitely now one of my Top Ten all-time favorite books. It is so poignant and captures the viewpoints of what it was like to be black in a Southern town during the 1960s. It explores the relationships between white socialites and their housekeepers in Jackson, Mississippi.

I guess what made this book so touching to me was that it made me stop and examine my beliefs, both as a child and now as an adult. It also caused me to reflect on the beliefs I have witnessed in others, whether spoken or otherwise.

It also reminded me of a time when, during the early 1980s, my family had help in the form of a black woman. We were living in the South, in Texas, and the Civil Rights Movement was not too far removed. I think about our housekeeper every once in a while, how she waited for me at the bus stop every afternoon with a warm hug and a smile. In the house, a snack was waiting and supper was not too far behind. She was a friend, and someone I looked forward to seeing each Monday and dreaded having to say goodbye to on Friday. She was special, and I loved her, and I know she loved me as one of her own. I didn't understand about "color", and I believe my family was good to her. I was devastated when she left and the new help came.

I also have been thinking how racial relations have changed over the years. White and black now live in the same neighborhoods and attend the same schools. I think about my children, how Ta's best friend is a little boy who happens to be black. They met on the first day of school and have been inseparable since. This boy comes over for play dates, attends church with us, eats supper with us, and I am so thankful for his friendship to Ta. Ta may understand his friend is black, but he's never let that be an issue and I pray it never becomes one.

If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. If nothing else, I hope it will cause you to stop and put yourself in the shoes of a poor, black woman during a time in our country's history where freedom and opportunity did not mean "for all."