Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Help- Kathryn Stockett Audio on Amazon
This is a great read but, even better, it is a fantastic listen. It was heartily recommended by a friend with the specific instructions that I should get the audio version. Part way through the book she had to buy the audio version so she could keep "reading" while she drove cross country. She recommended that I go directly to that version and, she was right, as usual. I do not think my imagination could have done justice to the richness of the voices that these women, the readers and the author have created. Natalya and I have been listening to it over and over as we drive back and forth and back and forth and back and.... well, you get the idea, to Maine. We are working on respectable imitations of the voices we have heard.
One of the rewards is the chance through the story to talk deep history with my daughter. Another is to remember those years-- to feel, again, the nuanced but unyielding divisions that existed; maintained through thousands of tiny gestures and unspoken supports. At the risk of playing into some horrible cultural gaffe let me say that my ears were hungry for the timbre, rhythm, and resonance of a black woman's voice.
It is a kind book, one that makes me stop short when I realize I cannot talk about it with my mother. A heart stopping realization. There was such pleasure in finding things that I knew down to the marrow of my bones would make her laugh or cry. There is so much to it and savoring all that is in it, even the hard parts, is a pleasure. We would have, my mother and I, talked about all the invisible lines, the guy wires that support a terrible injustice making it huge, impossible to ignore, and obscenely invisible. A society spends enormous energy pretending not to see large injustices. There is a next wave of the civil rights movement that belongs to those of us that are of "mostly-European-American" race.
There is much to be said about race and class. Regrettably, it has become difficult to talk about and therefore to learn. I believe Ms. Stockett has contributed to the possibility of conversation.
Have you read the book?