September, 2010: The Help by Katherine Stockett

(Book #5) In September, we read The Help by Katherine Stockett. I wasn’t able to attend the gathering that Melissa hosted, but because of the book’s popularity it was also the title chosen for the a book club on the cruise my husband and I took that month. The book club on the ship gave me an international perspective of race relations in the U.S. and I will say that my perspective was quite the opposite of the only other American who attended — who couldn’t imagine white guilt.

One of my favorite aspects of the book and I’m not sure I’m remembering this correctly, but, Aibileen tells Skeeter that she would love to read more books, but she’s read just about everything in the black library.  Skeeter asks if Aibileen would like her to check books out of the white library for her and Aibilieen, surprised, says yes. Skeeter checks the situation and asks “Wait, were you afraid to ask me for that?” and lists other things she’s already done for her.  Aibileen’s response is “These is white folks’ rules. I don’t know which ones you willing to break and which you ain’t.” That moment really hit me, that beyond the cruel and horrible things our ancestors did to the slaves, we made a whole race of people afraid to even ask for what they want.