3.5 Stars: I think I was halfway through the book before I really got into the story. It started off kind of slow for me. The author's use of very lon3.5 Stars: I think I was halfway through the book before I really got into the story. It started off kind of slow for me. The author's use of very long winding sentences and her detailed descriptions put me off at first. But the second half was wonderful. I really enjoyed how Montefiore made me feel as if I knew a lot about her minor characters. It made the story very rich. And I appreciate the way everything was interwoven at the end. The Mermaid Garden did have a pretty "Jane Austeny" neat and tidy ending, but I love Austen, so I can't fault it much for that. :-)...more
The best thing about Shanghai Girls was the way I felt completely transported, not only to a different time but into a culture so unfamiliar to me. ThThe best thing about Shanghai Girls was the way I felt completely transported, not only to a different time but into a culture so unfamiliar to me. The pre-World War II and World War II time period was so rich with Chinese/Chinese American history. As an young(ish) American, my knowledge of World War II is centered around how it affected the United States. Of course, I have read and studied plenty about the Nazi occupations and Germany’s role in the war, but I’ve never read anything about the people of China during that time. I’d never thought about China being invaded by the Japanese long before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But the history lesson didn’t stop when the setting changed to America. In the U.S. the characters had to deal with immigration, discrimination, and finally the communist witch hunt. With all of this going on it’s understandable that the story is often tragic and tough to read.
I can appreciate the story for what it taught me and for the way it gave a human voice to the history, but in order for me to love this story it would have to have a more satisfying ending. I realize there is a sequel (Dreams of Joy), but the sequel won’t be able to change the one aspect of the ending that bothered me the most. (Sorry, I don’t want to give any spoilers.) I will read Dreams of Joy because I do want to learn more about the characters and the history they’re living through, but I’m not in a rush to pick it up. A book like Shanghai Girls is emotionally draining for me. And I find myself craving something lighter immediately afterward, for a long time afterward actually.
I applaud See for making me truly connect with the narrator and her struggles. I also find it brilliant that the author wrote certain scenes so that the reader suspects that Pearl may be misinterpreting what’s going on. Even though the story is from her perspective, one begins to see the flaws in her vision. And while I didn’t always agree with the choices Pearl made, I could always understand why she was making those decisions.
This would be a good book for anyone interested in learning more the Chinese American culture and modern history. But I think anyone beginning Shanghai Girls should be warned that it is often heartbreaking, and the ending is far from a happy one, or even a satisfying one. I am not sorry I read this story. I may even recommend it to a select few, but I’m very glad that I read reviews before I read the book. They gave me full warning about the ending. ...more
Madeline is a suburban mother of two children who have now left the nest. She is all set to begin a new phase of life when she discovers that her husbMadeline is a suburban mother of two children who have now left the nest. She is all set to begin a new phase of life when she discovers that her husband lost his job and has been keeping it a secret from her for months. Avery and her ex-husband host a “do it yourself” show on HGTV. She’s not happy that she has been reduced to slightly more than a pretty prop, but she’s even less happy when she finds that she’s been fired from the show. Nicole is a matchmaker for the rich and famous, but she has been cheated out of most of her savings by someone she trusted more than anyone, Malcolm Dyer. Nicole may have lost her money, but she is even more afraid of losing her reputation. She wants to make sure no one realizes Malcolm Dyer is her brother. These women seemingly have nothing in common until they find out that they, along with countless others, have all lost their life’s savings to the scheming Dyer. Madeline, Avery, and Nicole find that they have each been awarded a third of an upscale beach house as part of a settlement against Dyer. When they meet up in Florida to take a look at the house, they find it is in a terrible state. They decide to spend the summer remodeling the house themselves, with the help of the “not so friendly” neighborhood contractor. If they succeed, the house should be worth millions more by Labor Day. The job is harder than any of them can imagine, and they’re each hiding secrets that burden them even more than the back breaking work. When they finally begin to open up to one another, they discover a companionship that will get them each through the toughest summer of their lives.
I wasn’t sure I was going to love this story when I began reading it. It was certainly an interesting premise for a novel, but Madeline’s storyline took a long time getting established, and I had a hard time connecting with her character at first. The setup for Avery’s and Nicole’s stories seemed to go more quickly, and when the three women finally arrived at the beach house and started interacting I really started to enjoy the book.
The dynamic between Chase and Avery seemed a little silly and forced at times. In fact it actually kept me from sympathizing with Avery for most of the story. “Two people who fight all the time but secretly like each other:” it’s an old story, but a lot of the time I was just wondering WHY they were both so angry and immature. When the explanations were finally made, I found myself saying, “That’s it?!” I think I would have been more satisfied with a more dramatic reason for Chase’s rude treatment of Avery. I prefer a dynamic such as there was between the two main characters on Moonlighting (played by Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis). They annoyed each other often, and they did fight, but they were clever about it and less irate. The relationship between Nicole and FBI agent Joe could have been cliché and frustrating too, but I thought Wax handled it well. At least Nicole could admit she was attracted to Joe, and it was completely understandable why the two characters were at odds.
**SPOILER ALERT** I love the unpredictability of the ending. The author gave a couple of hints, but I thought NO WAY would disaster ever happen. I thought the author would never dare do that to the reader who had so much invested in the blood and sweat of these characters. It would be too frustrating, but she DID dare! Even more amazing was that somehow I was okay with it, and I still had a happy feeling of hope when the story ended. Now that is really exceptional! If a writer can give the reader a “worst case scenario” ending and still leave the reader satisfied, I can’t help but be very, very impressed. I was also really glad that all of the romantic relationships weren’t tied up in neat little bows at the end. The reader can use her imagination and write a Jane Austen style ending if she so wishes, but it was much more realistic to leave some questions unanswered.
This book could definitely be qualified as “chick lit” in that I don’t think the story would appeal to most men, but I am categorizing it in a new category. I like to call it “chick lit plus!” It has a little bite to it, a little edge. It’s not as fluffy as say one of Sophia Kinsella’s Shopaholic books (which I do enjoy from time to time ). I read this selection for my book club, and I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. But now that I’ve read it, I’d actually recommend it to my friends who enjoy the “chick lit” genre. The best compliment I can give this book is that I stayed up late finishing it, and the night after I got in bed and was disappointed when I realized I would no longer be reading Ten Beach Road. ...more
Enzo is a dog. He’s been Denny’s dog since he was just a puppy. Enzo sees Denny through, not one but two, tragic events, and before he can leave thisEnzo is a dog. He’s been Denny’s dog since he was just a puppy. Enzo sees Denny through, not one but two, tragic events, and before he can leave this world, Enzo must be sure that Denny will be okay without him. The Art of Racing in the Rain is Enzo’s look back over life with his race car driver owner and his family. As the story’s narrator, Enzo leads the reader through his story which is often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always very touching.
I would have absolutely never, ever have picked up a copy of this book and read it on my own. First of all, the dog is dying. It says it right there in the synopsis of the book. I HATED reading those doggie death books (Old Yeller and Stone Fox) with my students when I taught fourth grade. (It was required!) Why is it so sad when a dog dies in a book? It’s almost worse than a person for me. I don’t know why. Second of all, this book seemed to have a lot to do with cars. It’s right there in the title, after all. I’m not a very macho girl, and I don’t care too much about cars. Looking at them or driving them doesn’t thrill me the way it does some people. Having said that, I AM SO GLAD that someone in my book club selected this book and made me read it! What a fabulous, fun, and original story!
One of my favorite things about this story is that it’s told from the unique perspective of the dog. How many stories for adults have a dog as the narrator? Not many. Of course Enzo is no ordinary dog. His owner is a race car driver, so he knows A LOT about cars and driving. He also gets left home with the TV turned on, and rather than frying his doggie brain, the television has educated Enzo in a major way. He reminds me a lot of Rain Man. His knowledge is vast but only in very specific subjects. There was the potential for Enzo to come off corny. I’m reminded of the Look Who’s Talking movies. But I think Stein pulled it off. Enzo is very realistic, for the most part. There were only a couple of times during the story when I thought, “Hmmm. I’m not sure a dog would really do this.” Most of the time the author takes what we do know about dogs and gives Enzo very plausible motivation for those actions. Why would a dog tear up a stuffed zebra? Why would a dog eat a hot pepper when it made him sick the last time he ate one? Stein comes up with his own answers to these questions, and the outcomes are quite comical. Stein writes Enzo in such a vivid way. He’s a fully fleshed out character, even if he is “only a dog.” Enzo is completely lovable, sweet, funny, endearing, and, of course, incredibly loyal.
There were a few passages when Enzo was describing a driving technique or a racing experience where I found myself a little bored. Like I said, I’m just not a car person. My mind tended to wander in those sections, but I was quickly snapped back into the story when they were over. I’m also very glad that the author didn’t beat around the bush getting into Denny’s legal troubles. I don’t want to give anything away for those that haven’t read the story, but I sensed what was going to happen when Denny was being questioned by his lawyer. And, lo and behold, there it was in the next chapter. I was grateful that I didn’t have to spend pages and pages thinking, “I know what’s going to happen; let’s just get on with it!” And even though it would have kept me from reading the book, I’m very glad that the author lets the reader know right from the get-go that things aren’t looking so good for Enzo. Enzo knows he’s dying. The book is really him looking back over his life with his owner, Denny. It softens the blow that the death of the dog does not come out of nowhere.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of those rare books that I believe will appeal to both men and women equally. And, yes, sensitive readers will probably cry a bit at the end, but you won’t be reduced to a sniveling mess, and you won’t be sorry you read the book. The way Stein wraps the book up actually manages to give the reader a sense of peace and hope. And readers can put this story away thinking about those they have lost in their lives and how the ones, like Enzo, who change lives with their love are never really gone. ...more
To put it simply, this book had too many tragedies and not enough happiness or hope to balance them out. I’m all for realistic historical fiction, andTo put it simply, this book had too many tragedies and not enough happiness or hope to balance them out. I’m all for realistic historical fiction, and I do realize that life on a plantation was probably extremely hard compared to living in modern times. But in order to truly capture my heart, a story has to have something to balance out the sadness. I read a few reviews that compared The Kitchen House to Gone with the Wind. Kathleen Grissom’s novel takes place on a plantation in the old south. It’s an epic tale that takes the heroine from a young girl to a young woman. But apart from that I can’t really see many similarities. There were some tragedies in Gone with the Wind. Homes were destroyed and lives were lost, but Gone with the Wind had something that The Kitchen House is definitely missing: a main character with some spunk! Yes, Scarlett is a rascal and she does some despicable things, but at least she’s interesting. The reader can’t wait to see what audacious thing Scarlett will do next. The reader roots for Scarlett because she doesn’t let anything bring her down. Lavinia, on the other hand, is so meek, so mousy, no naïve. She’s has all Melanie Hamilton’s sweetness but none of Melanie’s nobility. I kept waiting for Lavinia to finally stand up for herself, or at least for her loved ones, and I never felt like I got that satisfaction. In fact, Lavinia didn’t seem to grow as a character very much at all. Even when she attempted to do something heroic, it fell flat. She failed.
The members of my book club and I were talking about whether or not we cried when we were reading the book, and I thought it was interesting that two of us only cried when Baby Henry died. At first I thought maybe it was because he was a baby and the two of us are mothers of toddlers. Then I remembered that Henry wasn’t the only baby that died. Why then did that death affect the two of us while the others did not? It could be that the way Grissom wrote that death was more moving, and I believe that was a contributing factor. But I think it was mostly because that was the first death. After that it seemed there was death around every corner. My friend and I would text each other in the middle of reading, “Enough with the dying already!!” I became desensitized very quickly, and that’s very sad because there were several characters that had the potential to really capture my heart.
This book was like The Help in that it described the oppression of both women and people who are black. Like The Help, The Kitchen House also depicted a close relationship between a family and the people who serve them, but I cared about the characters in The Help so much more. I hurt for them when they hurt. The injustices that afflicted them felt as if they were happening to someone I truly cared for. In The Kitchen House, Grissom spent so much time jumping from one tragedy to the next; I never had the chance to really care about her characters. I didn’t know them well enough to be invested in their fate, and I didn’t even want to get attached to them because most of the characters were dropping like flies!
I loved the interaction between Mama Mae, Papa George, and their children. The few moments of celebration and happiness were wonderful to read, but as I said there weren’t enough of those moments to make the tragedies bearable. (Not. Even. Close.) I thought the dynamic between Lavinia and Will was very promising at first. I loved the way that he teased her as a young girl. But I felt that relationship fell flat later in the story. The only reason I wanted Lavinia to be with Will was because he was way better than any other alternative. Will was a nice guy, but there was no real chemistry between him and the adult Lavinia. He was simply the only nice guy available.
The author made one choice that I really admired. She wrote the story from the perspectives of two characters, and while Lavinia’s passages were long and detailed, Belle’s were very short and to the point. I have never seen this before in a book with multiple perspectives, and I thought it was very clever. The length and detail of the passages really emphasized the difference between the two narrators.
I would not recommend this book to anyone unless I knew that she loved stories about plantations or that she relished a tragic story. Maybe there are those that can keep up the sensitivity and be affected by each and every death and downfall. I could not. Having said that, I wouldn’t be opposed to reading another book by this author when she publishes again. I would, however, check the reviews very carefully first. Grissom’s style is quite pleasing, but the content too full of death and sadness for my taste.
One thing I always loved about Tina Fey’s delivery of “The Weekend Update” on SNL was that it was so smart. I found myself admiring her wit as well asOne thing I always loved about Tina Fey’s delivery of “The Weekend Update” on SNL was that it was so smart. I found myself admiring her wit as well as her humor. So it came as no surprise that she had some very important points to make along with the comedy and biographical information. Fey uses Bossypants as a forum for her opinions on sexism, tolerance, parenthood, and many other serious social issues. With Fey’s trademark witty humor, it didn’t feel like a lecture at all. It felt like listening to a girlfriend talk about things that bother her, albeit a very funny, clever girlfriend.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who is ultra-conservative. But seriously, what ultra-conservative is going to say, “Tina Fey? Yeah! I think I might just love that book!” Ha! Fey discusses subjects such as same sex marriage and her spoofs on Sarah Palin. It’s no love fest for Palin, and Fey is most certainly a liberal, but Fey expresses herself very respectfully. Even an ultra-conservative, diehard Palin fan would have trouble finding anything to be really upset about. (I don’t think they would enjoy many parts of the book, but I don’t think they would be particularly offended either.) Those of you who have watched skit, TV episode, or movie with Fey in it and found yourself genuinely belly laughing will probably really appreciate this book. Her target audience is clearly women, but male fans will find plenty to enjoy as well. ...more
"Josey didn’t have everything. She had only money. And she would give that away, that and everything else she had, every grain of sugar, for the one "Josey didn’t have everything. She had only money. And she would give that away, that and everything else she had, every grain of sugar, for the one thing she wanted most in the world but would never have."
Josey Cirrini had a privileged childhood. Her father built the ski resort that turned Bald Slope, North Carolina into a prosperous, year-round vacation destination. She had money and connections, but she was considered a terribly behaved, spoiled child by one and all. At the time the reputation was well earned. Her relationship with her mother was always strained, and Josey feels it is because she was so horrible to her mother when she was young. After her father’s death Josey had no friends and her mother was her only family, so she made the decision to become a dutiful daughter. She doesn’t even dare breathe without her mother’s approval, and yet her mother is still cold and unaffectionate. Josey bottles up all her wants and needs and hides them away, just like the candy in her closet. It’s her sole act of rebellion, the only thing that helps her cope –a compartment in her closet full of candy, soda, and other sweets. But Josey shares that secret with no one. Most people in town formed their opinions of her long ago when she was an ill behaved child. She’s a little plump and self conscious, too. Josey is terrified of what people would think if they saw her eating anything, let alone indulgent sweets, so she hides away in her room and devours sweet snacks whenever she’s feeling stressed or depressed, and that’s pretty often.
"She smelled like cigarette smoke and river water."
One day Josey opens her closet to find Della Lee Baker, a waitress who has seen the rougher side of life. At first Josey only lets her stay because Della Lee threatens to reveal her secret food stash, but Josey quickly becomes fascinated with this strange woman who has chosen to live such a different kind of life, so careless, so free of all restraint –the opposite of Josey’s life in so many ways. Through her association with Della Lee, Josey also meets Chloe Finley, the owner and operator of a small café in town. Chloe has recently broken up with her boyfriend because he confessed to a one night stand with another woman. Josey, who has never had a true friend, comes along just when Chloe needs someone to turn to, and the two women bond quickly. Chloe coincidently happens to know Adam, the handsome mailman whom Josey has been pining after for quite some time. As in all of Sarah Addison Allen’s novels, the characters’ lives intersect in surprising ways. Like The Peach Keeper, this story also contains a few mysteries, and like Garden Spells, there is a suspenseful moment near the end of the book that sure to keep the pages turning.
"If I see you again tonight I’m putting you both in the toilet." (Chloe to the books that keep hounding her)
To date Allen has published four books. I have read all of them, and I’m sad to say this one is my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a lovely story, and I still really enjoyed her writing style. I’ve narrowed down my disappointment in The Sugar Queen to two things. The first is that the magic was not as understated in this book as it is in Allen’s other three stories. While I’m totally charmed by the idea of books appearing to a character just when she needs them, I thought the way the books were practically stalking Chloe was almost comical, and when she could basically hear them moving around her home like little creatures, I found it pretty creepy. I was also disappointed that the books were all nonfiction. I thought that they would be fictional stories and Chloe would have to read them and find out what they were trying to tell her. (Sigh. Wouldn’t that have been cool?) And for goodness sake, Chloe is supposed to have this special relationship with books, but she reads almost nothing for the entire length of the story! The second thing that bothered me was the outrageousness of anyone being okay with a stranger living in her closet. I’ve learned to expect the unusual form Allen. Magical realism does require the reader to suspend disbelief somewhat, but the closet squatter was just a little too out there for me. So what did I like about the book? I really enjoyed the slow reveal of two plot twists. I can’ t be more specific without spoiling the story, so I’ll just say they both involved what Della Lee was doing in Josey’s closet. Much like The Peach Keeper I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen, but I had a pretty good idea. I had just enough doubt in my theories to keep the story interesting. Allen is brilliant that way. It seems there are always a few little misleading details that make me think I might be wrong.
"Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats."
Allen’s female friendships usually outshine the romances in her novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the Josey/Della Lee dynamic; they were like The Odd Couple. So delightfully different, it led to many funny moments. But I felt the Josey/Chloe relationship needed something more. Adam, however, is my favorite male love interest so far. He is flawed, but beautiful, and he grows as a character during the story. And the scene where he defends Josey made me want to cheer out loud. Actually, I think I did do a little fist pump.
"She wanted to argue, to fight, to stop this constant feeling of having no control over anything except what went in her mouth."
If you are already a fan of Sarah Addison Allen’s work, then you will most likely enjoy this book, too. But if you haven’t read anything of hers yet, read Garden Spells or The Peach Keeper first. I blame the problems with this story on the old sophomore curse. Garden Spells, Allen’s first novel, was so original, so subtly magical and full of warmth. It was always going to be a tough act to follow. Sugar Queen seems like the book where Allen was working out her style. By the time she got to The Girl Who Chased the Moon she had really hit her stride, and The Peach Keeper was very well crafted, too. I’m still a huge fan of Sarah Addison Allen, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Her storytelling is consistently full of warmth, gentle humor, and enchantment.
"Sometimes what’s inside [books] will change your life, but sometimes you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes it’s a comfort just to have a book around. ‘Why do you buy books you don’t even read?’...For the company, of course." ...more
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society is written entirely in letters. There are many different voices, and you have to piece the story togeth The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society is written entirely in letters. There are many different voices, and you have to piece the story together using several different people’s accounts of events. Each personality is so different. It really does seem as if several different people are telling the story.
Juliet is a writer who lives in London. She wrote a newspaper column under the name “Izzy Bickerstaff” during World War II, which has just ended. Juliet’s articles have been made into a book. The book is fairly successful, so she is doing a book tour and looking for something new to write a book about. A man named Dawsey from the English island, Guernsey writes to Juliet because he found her name written in a used book that he read and really enjoyed. She writes him back, and a friendship begins. She finds out that he is a part of a literary group in Guernsey.
The book club began during the war when the island of Guernsey was occupied by the Germans. The people of Guernsey were under strict rule. Their children were sent away to the mainland just before the invasion in order to keep them safe from the Germans. They barely had enough to eat and keep themselves clean. The inhabitants of Guernsey also had a curfew imposed on them by the German soliders. One night a group of friends got together to do something against the Germans’ rules, and they are caught out after curfew. They can’t say what they were really doing, so a young woman named Elizabeth comes up with a lie. She says they were all at a meeting of their literature group. The group has to keep meeting to make the lie seem believable. Eventually, the group turns into an actual literary group, and the members find that reading helps them cope with the terrible situation they are all in.
Juliet wants to hear more about Dawsey’s friends and their literary group. The other members of the book club begin to write her letters too. In the letters Juliet learns of life on Guernsey during the occupation. The stories range from humorous to heartbreaking, and many of the stories are quite surprising. The cast of characters is eccentric and very fun to read. There’s Isola, an adorably odd older woman who makes potions and loves Wuthering Heights with a passion. There’s John Booker, a butler who impersonated his aristocrat employer during the war and found a love of acting thereafter. And Adelaide Addison is the nosey, self righteous spinster who hates The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and urges Juliet to stop writing to them at once.
When I first began reading this story I enjoyed the witty humor and the fun, quirky characters. Then, I began to read the stories of the war. I was appalled, but interested to learn the history. When I think of World War II, my mind immediately goes to the Jewish Germans who were sent to concentration camps. I never considered what life would be like for the rest of the citizens in Europe. And I had no idea that the Germans had occupied an English island during the war. However, I didn’t become totally invested in the book until the story of Elizabeth McKenna came about. She is still missing after the war. Her part of the story is somewhat of a mystery, and it really intrigued me. The author named her appropriately because, like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I completely fell in love with her. Even though you only read about Elizabeth McKenna in the letters her friends write, she is the heart and soul of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a wonderfully brave and charming character.
This is the kind of story that most people I know would not pick up on their own. I wouldn’t have read it if my mother-in-law hadn’t recommended it to me, and I know she found out about it because someone recommended it to her. Even a few pages into the book I wasn’t totally convinced that I was going to love this book. It crept up on me slowly as I became entranced by the many different characters and their sad stories of the war. By part two, when Juliet visits Guernsey, I was completely hooked and ready to pack up and go to the little island myself! Needless to say, I would recommend this book to most of my friends. If you like history, romance, reading and the little oddities that exist in any group of people, you will mostly likely love this book as much as I did.
The Help is set in Jackson Mississippi from 1962 to 1964. It is told from the perspective of three women. Aibileen, is a black maid who has a special The Help is set in Jackson Mississippi from 1962 to 1964. It is told from the perspective of three women. Aibileen, is a black maid who has a special gift for working with other people’s children. Every day she tries to make Mae Mobley, the little girl in her care, feel loved and important. It hurts Aibileen to see the way Mae Mobley’s mother treats her as a burden and a nuisance. She feels sometimes that no matter what she does, Mae Mobley will turn out like her mother.
Then there’s Miss Skeeter. Skeeter is a young white woman who has just graduated from college. She and her friends are officers in the Junior League. They hang out at the local country club and host bridge parties every week. When Skeeter returns home she discovers Constantine, the black maid who raised her, has disappeared, and no one will tell her what happened, least of all her mother. The loss of Constantine makes Skeeter more aware of the people her friends refer to as “the help”. Her eyes begin to open to the injustices that the black maids in town put up with every day. She wonders if they ever wished that things could change.
The final narrator is Minny, Aibileen’s best friend. MInny is a smart mouthed, black maid who has a habit of getting fired for speaking her mind. She butts head with one of Skeeter’s best friends, Hilly Holbrook, the president of the Junior League. Miss Hilly does her best to make sure Minny will never be hired as a maid again. Minny finds a job, albeit a strange one. She must work in secret every day for “white trash turned rich girl” Miss Celia, so that Miss Celia’s husband will believe that she is a good housekeeper. Minny thinks Miss Celia is crazy, but she takes the job because it’s the only one she can get.
The character’s lives begin to intertwine when Skeeter decides to write the lives of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. Her search for the truth leads her to Aibileen and Minny. The trouble is some people in Jackson don’t want the truth to get out. Those people don’t want things to change, and they will go to drastic measure to make sure “the help” stays in their place.
I love finding a book that I can’t put down! This book has such an array of memorable characters. I really enjoyed reading about how each of their lives intertwined with the others’. I also really liked that there were three narrators. I think it added a sense of mystery to the book. One character would begin telling of an event, and it wasn’t until later, in another character’s story that you discovered the outcome of that event. The author really embodied each character. I felt as if I was reading three separate memoirs.
I also love books that make me think about them long after I’m done reading them. Desegregation of the south is not a topic I’m unfamiliar with, but this was a new perspective on the topic for me. I knew that many people were against desegregation and that terrible things were done to people who were black in the south in the early 1960’s. But I’ve never stopped to think about how dangerous it was for anyone, even a white person, to speak out in favor of desegregation. There were “normal,” seemingly nice people who were dead set against black people having equal rights. It’s pretty hard for me to imagine someone who believed in segregation speaking out about it just like they were discussing the weather. It’s even more incredible to me that those people could have felt no shame or guilt. My eyes have been opened to the fact that, in some parts of the south, it wasn’t just a few radical groups like the KKK that treated black people as if they were something less than human. This book helped me feel as if I lived during that time for a brief period. Thankfully, when I’m done reading it’s 2010, and though we have a long way to go until there are equal rights for all people, we sure have come a long way.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great, character-driven fiction, especially historical fiction. I got this book from the library, but I loved it so much that I will be looking for a copy to buy so that I can pass it along to my friends and family! ...more