Friday, May 27, 2011

Do you need Help?

My sister had a phone call with me a couple of weeks ago. She was talking about a book, how great it was, had I read it?
As she talked I absorbed one of the words in the title 
In my head I was imagining a self-help-think-positive-change-your-life kind of a book. 
When she told me a couple of days later that a surprise was on its way to me I guessed that maybe I was going to have a copy of this book land on my doorstep soon. 

Sometimes I'm open to new ideas. Sometimes life is busy, I am tired and quite frankly although I'm sure there are lessons to be learned I'm just not in the mood to learn them. This is how I felt as I came home to a cardboard parcel on my doorstep. 
The house was a mess, I had a list of jobs and errands as long as my arm, I really didn't have any extra time left over for the luxury of reading.
The biggest mistake I could have made was opening up the parcel.
But I did. 
The book fell out. It was called "The Help"

I haven't been able to stop reading all week. I've read it at home while jobs have sat un-done, washing has piled unsorted, I've brought it to work and read in my coffee break, I read it waiting in the garage forecourt for my turn to fill up the car with petrol. I've stayed up later in the evening than is sensible and stirred dinner on the stove with one hand while reading furiously the book held away from splashes in the other.

I know it is a fictional novel. But what shocks me is that it is based on fact. It is set in the 1960's.  Black women leaving their kids alone at home to look after white children for less than minimum wage at a time that was only a few years before Byron and myself were born. It read like something from generations and generations ago. It is hard to think that it was based on children that are now grown and only in their 40's and 50's. 

When I look around at the multi cultural life that my kids are living here in Australia I realise how different a life it is from the one described in this book. The life I live as a mother is so different too from the women portrayed in this book who are so desperate to be accepted into the country club lifestyle of their peers.
I cried and clenched my fingers tight as I read this moving story of women who just wanted to be treated as equal. Maybe we don't yet live in a world where this is a reality but the fact that we can do something as simple as shop in the same stores and use the same public bathroom means we have come a long way. 

If you have time on your hands I recommend you read this book. If you live nearby me and want to borrow my copy just ask, you may need to air out the tear soaked pages first though. 

4 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. I am a total book fiend, and I love discivering new books.
    I think I may just have to get a copy of this!!

  2. Always looking for a good read, and I love anything with a historical or factual slant. Better get the tissues out though as I sniffle at anything! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Great book~ I loved it too. The movie scares me tho...not sure about Lindsay Lohan in the lead?? Movies are never as good as the book. I am reading an even better book...The Kitchen House! It is fabulous!

  4. I would like to read this book, I am sure that there is a great lesson to learn...