Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I began reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and had to pause immediately. At the end of the first paragraph I thought “Good heavens, this is written in Southern Black patois.” Shortly thereafter the scene shifted to a group of rich women, playing bridge, and complaining about having to share the guest bathroom with the black maid. One of them believed every home should have a separate bathroom for Negroes. It would improve general hygiene for black and white both as well as increasing the value of the property. I was rolling my eyes more than I have since I was a teenager!

I have a resistance to anything written in dialect whether it’s Cockney, Southern Black or snooty rich filled-with-foreign-phrases. I also have a problem tolerating intolerance in others. Strikes one and two for The Help. However, I also have a personal rule, developed before I was a teenager: I will not give up on a book before reading three full chapters.

I was waiting for the lady from the carpet store to come measure rooms for the carpet we’re buying. I had about 20 minutes to wait, and decided to plow through as much of the “required” three chapters as possible in that time. Once again, I am glad I developed the rule. By the time the carpet lady arrived, I was hooked. I’m only about a third of the way through, but can say I find the story so far compelling and well told. I can’t wait to find out how things turn out.

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