Kathryn Stockett’s The Help leaves me mourning the lives of her characters. Having first been welcomed into these characters’ homes and lives as a guest (perhaps a fourth at Miss Leefolt’s bridge table) in the form of a reader, a transformation occurs, though, by the end of the novel where the reader emotionally entangles himself/herself with these seemingly living, breathing, struggling human beings. Will Aibileen continue to . . . ? How will Miss Skeeter fare in . . .? Does Minny triumph as a . . . ? Does Miss Hilly ever admit to . . . ? The telling dialogue and vivid descriptions places the reader in the moment. In fact, Minny’s words, “I intend to stay on her like hair on soap” (158) induced the gag reflex (icks).
Besides the entertainment factor, I hope the reader, more importantly, acknowledges the issues The Help brings to light such as racism, sexism, and domestic abuse (which nonsensically remain in today’s society) and is motivated to take action. Having personally dealt with a sexist stepfather during my own upbringing, the reality is that these negative, needless influences have life-altering effects.
|Picture and cake courtesy of Rhonda Tibbs.|
For the purposes of book club, a delectable caramel cake
shared among members seems the ideal choice since this inanimate “character” weaves itself throughout the novel. If feeling playful and wish to determine who has completed the book club’s reading of the month, serve a chocolate pie alongside the
cake and see which members help themselves to a slice or two. Then, without a doubt, as a group view the movie version of The Help and determine whether the book was better . . .