This book has been a different experience for me. Especially since I started reading it around 7 pm last evening after I got back from work and stayed up till 4 in the morning reading and watching the movie simultaneously.
The sequence was something like: Read – Eat Dinner – Read – Watch first 30 mins of movie – Pause – Read a 100 pages – Watch the next 1 hour of the movie – Pause Read another 50 – Finally finish the movie 🙂
Totally worth it for some strange reason – the only mistake i made was doing this on a thursday night with a full work day ahead of me rather than wait another day to do it !
Anyway, coming to the book and why i liked it so much. I think it is a well told but sad and heartening tale about how the color of skin can rule the minds of people. I dont have too much knowledge about the condition of the African-American people in Jackson in the 1960s but a fair bit enough to understand the hypocrisy of the white people in discriminating against them and very vociferously so.
On the one hand there were segregations in every aspect (based on the Jim Crow Laws) – like eating at the same table as a colored person, using the same toilets (believing that the colored people had a different set of diseases), drinking from the same water fountain, there were even separate libraries, schools and colleges. All in the name of the “separate but equal” concept.
And yet, the white households couldn’t have functioned without their colored help. From cleaning their homes, to preparing their meals, to raising their children…. to being a a support for a dysfunctional family…..
I guess the book brings this out very well.
References to real life facts from that period also put things in perspective very well to understand the situation and environment during that time.
Like the Medgar Evers (civil rights leader) assassination in 1963 by Byron de la Beckwith, a White Citizen’s Council member. Beckwith underwent 3 trials for the murder, of which the first 2 trials resulted in hung juries and he was only convicted 30 years later in 1994 – which says a lot about the level of white supremacist activities that continued against the African Americans for a long time to come.
But this is just one such example and the little bit of reading on this has led me to the movie “Ghosts of Mississippi” – which is based on the courtroom trial of Beckwith in 1994 – which i will be watching soon enough.
Talking of which, i must say that The Help (movie) is very well made too. A movie can never be as good as the book but it sure is fun to watch real live characters from the book on screen. I have to say that Aibileen was my favorite in the book and and in the movie too.
I think this book should be read just to understand how discrimination on any ground – color/religion/region – is such a sad thing – since the other person is also just another person like you or me 🙂 and the color of the skin is superficial only.