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Musing on The Help — a challenge to white readers — 4 Comments

  1. I loved this book. And I was shocked by the members of another book club I belong to. Some of the women didn’t think it was based on facts. (Mostly twenty something group) Go figure! Love this post Joy!

  2. Thanks for this post, Joy. I did read The Help after much encouragement from peers. It was better than I expected in terms of being “a good read.” That is, aside from any political or social context, the story was better than I had expected. When something is “too” popular, I tend to downgrade my expectations (which may mean I’m a book snob). I expected a schmoopy, fluffy, feel-good book, but it was gritty and tense and there was a growing sense of impending doom throughout the book that kept me reading. I had already heard a little controversy about the book by then – a complaint, I guess, that it took a white woman to bring the story to light, rather than black women doing it for themselves. One of the things I got out of the story was how white women were stuck in their social roles and black women were trapped in their social roles, and how dangerous it was for a woman of either color skin to step outside what was expected.
    I will check into the further reading in the Open Letter. As a person whose roots are in the southern U.S. (my parents both grew up in New Orleans in the 50s), and as one of two people who worked in an otherwise all-black office for 4 years, and as a strong supporter of civil rights for everyone, I find myself quite interested in digging a little deeper.

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