I had great, big expectations for The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really did. Everyone was talking about that book. And then they made a movie, and everyone started talking about it even faster. I had to get the book.
And so I did.
It started out strong. Yes, I enjoyed reading the first few lines. A black woman called Aibileen tells us how she takes care of white kids for a living. And how she also does all the cooking and cleaning besides taking care of those babies. The white race has it coming. I sat more comfortably in my chair.
However, the very next thing I read (yes, it was still the first page) was that Aibileen had been hired by a very young white woman to take care of the woman’s very young white baby. It’s the woman’s first baby; she doesn’t know how take care of the newborns yet. She also seems to be having trouble bonding with the baby, which is hardly surprising as we learn later. Yes, it’s actually the opposite of “surprising” because the young woman, Mrs. Leefolt, got married because that’s what was expected from women in 1962, and then she stayed unemployed for the same reason, and then she had a child for the same reason. And also, I’m guessing, because married women couldn’t use contraceptives.