I’m a hopeless procrastinator. Not because tasks seem daunting or frighten me. More because I’m a”chunker”. If I can’t dedicate all my time to one task in efforts to finish it quickly, I don’t want to start. Nothing makes me more crazy than something dragging on for over a week. I blame ADD hyperfocus.
My book club meets tomorrow and I started reading the book on Monday. Hence the reason I’ve done nothing but read for the past three days. I read while I cooked. I read beside Jaz on the couch. I read on my front steps. I read in the bath. Tonight, I finished the book. Just in time for a great discussion with my ladies and a nice glass of wine at the Goss Opera House. I giddy with excitement because I loved this book. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett now comes highly recommended by yours truly.
What a book! I buried myself in Jackson, Mississippi during 1962 for three days. The story itself was wonderfully woven with bits of description that made lukewarm South Dakota muggy and attitudes stuffy. But it was the characters that Mrs. Stockett brought to life. Not one character made me laugh and cry for the hardships they faced. Except for Hilly. I kept hoping for a little depth from her, perhaps some back story as to how she became a monster. My personal favorite was a minor character, Lou Anne, who played an intricate part of bring the story to a close. Her humanity was heart-breaking.
The best part about this book, as with any book that moves me, are the underlying themes that affect everyone’s lives at any given point in history. I will never be a black maid in 1962, Jackson, Mississippi. I can be a Skeeter, living where I don’t belong and finding hope in writing. Miss Celia’s loneliness touches a tender part of my soul. I certainly can sympathize with Minnie and her tough exterior despite the weakness inside.
More than the rest, though, I can be Aibileen. I didn’t connect with her until the last three paragraphs as she walks away from her life and thinks about her freedom. “Maybe I ain’t too old to start over, I think, and I laugh and cry at the same time at this. Cause just last night, I thought I was finished with everything new.”
I’ve wrote in Piranha’s on a Goldfish how some books just happen at the right time. “The Help” happened at the right time as my life changed. Mrs. Stockett’s unintentional themes hit me at the right time as doubts flooded my mind today. Maybe I an’t too old to start over. Maybe Minnie was right when she said, “Maybe things is happening just how they should.” I especially liked Aibileen’s thoughts. “And Minny, maybe she don’t want to be deprived a any a things that go along with being brave and gnood. Even the bad.” I especially like this thought. Skeeter read my mind when she thought, “What if I never leave? What if I’m stuck. Here. Forever?” Themes that defy all time and boundaries. Themes all humans can relate to at some point in their lives.
The prevailing theme is Hope. Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny, and Miss Celia all carry hope in their chests, hidden close to their hearts. Not in their hearts, mind you. That would be too dangerous, but right beside it. Every now and then, we all deserve a good book that fills us with hope. As much as I like a book that makes me think, or squirm, or cry, I still need an occassional dose of literary hope.
“How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”~ Trina Paulus
The main characters in “The Help” all gave up being a caterpillar and learned to fly. That is my wish for you, as well. That you learn to fly with wings made from hope. I think I’ll finish “The Weight She Carries” with happily ever after. I think the world needs a bit of hope.
I hope I don’t procrastinate so long next month. I believe I shall retire for the evening because three days of reading has exhausted me.