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Let’s Talk Books

So the other day there was a lively discussion on Facebook regarding the book (and movie) “The H.elp.”  I was honestly quite surprised at the negative responses the book   elicited from more than a few people.

People wrote about their relatives who had been domestics; about how it seemed as though we (people of color) do not tell our own stories; that if the author of the book had been black, the book wouldn’t have received the hype that it did; and that people were tired of reading about blacks in positions of servitude.  One person even said their professor told them not to read The H.elp – to me, that’s all sorts of madness and unethical to boot.  Teachers should encourage learning and exploration.  Not censor it.  Recommending books, cool.  Telling students not to read something, not so cool.  Moving on…

My opinion?  It was a good book.  The storyline was interesting, the characters were well developed and the story was well paced.  I confess, I didn’t give much thought to the subject matter, and even now that I’ve thought about the subject matter, I’m not bothered by it.  Truth is, many many women of color did (and do) work for white families as domestics.  I’ve never been a big proponent of presenting only those stories which can be deemed positive or uplifting.  I believe that there are many stories of interest to be told inside of any community.

Then I started thinking about the books I’ve read lately by black authors.  Some I’ve liked, some I didn’t.  I enjoyed Wench.  It was about slavery.  Miss Black America?  Not my favorite.  I don’t think I’m 10 pages into My Soul to Keep, so it’s too early to tell with that one. Most of the books I love are by black authors (John O Killens, J California Cooper, Dianne McKinney Whetstone) and I suppose that’s because their writings are, on some level, familiar to me.  I do, however, appreciate books by authors of all races and refuse to limit what I read and enjoy to one type of author or subject matter.

When I choose books, I’m basically looking for a good story to read.  Subject matter isn’t necessarily that important though I am drawn to mysteries, thrillers and the like.  I’m not really concerned with the race of the author.  If I like a book, I like it.  Since the majority of what I read is fiction, I’m really just looking to be entertained.  Every now and then I’ll read a auto/biography.  I can’t think of the last book I read that was non-fiction and not biographical in nature.

Anyhoo, I’d like to know what you think.  About The Help.  About books in general.  Are you upset with the way minorities (blacks, women, hispanics, etc.) are portrayed in print?  Do you think too many of the books written are one-sided in their portrayals of these groups?  Is this something you even consider when choosing what to read?  What are you reading now?  Are you enjoying it?

*There was also discussion about movies, which books are turned into movies etc., but I’m not a big movie watcher, so I limited the subject of this post to books.  If you have thoughts about the movie, feel free to chime in.  Will you see it, etc….*

*One more thing, and I hope this goes without saying, but I encourage open discussion.  If you disagree with me?  That’s cool.  Don’t cuss me out, but disagree away…*



63 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Books

  1. In general, I don’t have a problem with how minorities or women are portrayed in print because I get to choose what I read. I feel the same way about music. People complain about materialism and misogyny in music and I don’t get it because I choose carefully what I’m going to take in. Rick Ross and Wacka Flocka are not food for MY soul. lol… So, I cull carefully from what’s out there and read a lot of women and minority authors and that probably also helps too.

    Now for The Help…

    I did not like that book at all. Mostly because of the subject matter. I can die happy if I never hear one mo’ story about black people being “brave” to help a white person get what they want. I am just not interested. The women in this book were a hop away from magical negrohood. Not banding together to make their lives better in an actionable way, they come together (and put themselves and their families in danger) to help this chick recognize her dreams of being a published writer. Kill me now. Also, I didn’t relate to any of the characters and outside of not wanting the black part of town to be burnt down and destroyed, I didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters.

    The author being white didn’t really factor in until she had one of the characters talking about lazy, trifling black men who leave their women to care for their kids. That pushed me right over to being pissed at the author. Boo hiss. I didn’t like that she used her black female character’s mouth to spout stereotypes about black men.

    • Funny that you should mention the magical negro. I can’t stand them. But as I read your comment I realize that I take issue with magical negroes on screen more so than in books. Bagger Vance? The Green Mile? No sir, no ma’am. I guess it’s the in-your-face aspect of movies that makes me more likely to object to whites being rescued by whatever superpower the blacks possess.

      …I don’t even remember the part about lazy, trifling black men.

  2. It’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to believe nothing is going to change about the types of images which are “acceptable” and “relevant” to the masses as it relates to people of color. That story yesterday about that lil 4 year old boy who was misrepresented on the news is a perfect example of what people WANT to see from us. They want us to be confined in a box they can rationalize to themselves. A 4 year old boy in the hood who wants to be a policeman isn’t an acceptable image but a 4 year old boy in the hood who wants a gun so he can continue the violence is the norm.

    It just depresses me is all and the most powerful equalizer we have is money but folks haven’t learned how to use it collectively for good reasons.

    I hated the book and couldn’t finish it and I’m not going to see the movie. Lots of people I respect LOVED the book and can’t WAIT for the movie.

    It’s just so gosh awful…HURTFUL that movies like “The Great Debaters” wasn’t a hit…but this movie is already considered a runaway hit. It would be easier to be entertained by this, TO ME, if the playing field was much more even but you know what? It never, ever, EVER will be.

    Lemme go…

    • Oh…and I find books based on what people I connect with are reading or if I hear something interesting on NPR or in the book section of the papers. Good Reads has been AWESOME for finding stuff my peers are reading (Tiffany In Houston is the NUMBER ONE READER it seems! LOL!) and I try to ask on my blog once a month about books so I never run out of options.

      • I think that as an artist you are particularly sensitive to the issue. I come solely from a consumer’s standpoint – even though I think there’s a novel somewhere inside me itching to get out. I just want to read and watch things that are interesting and entertaining to me. The Help was. I’m not always looking to be uplifted and/or informed.

        I don’t know if I’ll go see the movie or not. I’m generally disappointed with movies based on books I’ve read. But I have a friend who was an extra and I’d love to see her on the big screen.

        I was talking to a friend about The Help and he pretty much echoed what you are saying. He asserted if someone made a movie about Septima Clark I wouldn’t go see it. And that’s probably true. But I didn’t go see the Amelia Earhart movie either…

        I know you LOVE the movie The Color Purple – I loved the book. The movie, not so much. Did/do you take issue with the fact that Spielberg directed it? That a European wrote the screenplay? There were a number of not-so-positive portrayals of blacks in The Color Purple – did they bother you?

        TIH is a book pusha to the nth degree! She is on it and I’ve enjoyed several of her selections!!!

      • I think maybe you got me wrong. I don’t necessarily care that a White woman was the author but I do care that if a Black woman was the author…you would have probably never heard of the book because the network simply doesn’t exist to support creative work by Black people. The success of books like “The Help” symbolizes too much about the state of race TO ME.

        Something that has depressed me this year? Having a study done on what makes money from a filmmaking standpoint for people of color. The results broke me down.


  3. I did not dislike The Help. It was a story that was well-written and easy to get caught up in. I kinda even want to see the movie. But I was slightly annoyed with it and I get why some black people hate it. I think people get sick of having the only widely successful books featuring black characters be those with the “magical negro” stereotype – same thing with movies (The Blind Side, Secret Life of Bees on and on and on…). I don’t think it is necessarily about only telling positive stories because Alice Walker caught mega-flack for The Color Purple and its negative portrayal of black men.

    I feel like most books written by white people are kind of one-sided in their portrayal of black people – if they include black people at all. I actually prefer it if they don’t because I don’t want to read another book or see another TV show with the sassy black friend or any other tired sterotype.

    I just read Before I Forget (Decent) and Silver Sparrow (Great). I’m now listening to a Marie Laveau mystery by Jewell Parker Rhodes. If you haven’t read 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter get on it. Excellent read about a “quirky” black girl and that’s something you don’t get too much even in AA Fiction.

    P.S. I love Tananarive but My Soul To Keep is not my favorite book of hers. I think the series does get better as it goes along though. I enjoyed The Good House, The Between and Joplin’s Ghost a lot more. So give her another chance if you don’t like MSTK that much!

    • It really is true that you can’t make everybody happy. I don’t remember the flack re: The Color Purple, but I know Teri McMillan caught hell for a lot of her earlier books for the same reason. Good Times was too ghetto. The Cosby Show was too bougie…and the beat goes on.

      Thanks for the suggestions! Maybe we’ll read 32 Candles for our next book club.

      I’ll keep that in mind as i read My Soul…rarely do I give authors a second chance if our first encounter is blah.

    • I liked 32 Candles. It was an Amazon recommendation.

      You already know T.Due is one of my favorite authors (and Jodi Picoult). I’ve read just about everything she’s written, and Joplin’s Ghost is my favorite. Check out the books co-authored by Due, her husband Steve Barnes, and Blair Underwood.

  4. I read the He.lp and thought it was a good book. I will say that I can understand why some would not be interested in reading it. My grandmother talks about caring for white children and their families years ago sometimes. Nothing in the book was new to me. I think people are drawn to what they are drawn to. I don’t care for mysteries or science fiction. A preference is a preference. That may change. It doesn’t bother me when someone doesn’t like a book I loved. In fact, I might pick up a book I didn’t like a couple of years ago and read it again and love it.

  5. I generally just like stories from that era. I don’t know why, but stories from the Civil Rights Era and Slavery are always my favorites to read, and movies to watch. The stories of “black people being saved by the white people” bother me more when they’re from THIS era.

    My Grandmother was a “domestic” and still, to this day, she talks about the children that she cared for and the mother and father that she worked for. She would have done anything for them, just as she would for us, and she wasn’t treated badly in the least. So, I can definitely see her going an extra mile to help one of them — but she would also do that same thing today, and for anybody.

    The fact that the author was white doesn’t bother me at all, it’s her story to tell. I’m not familiar enough with Hollywood to be up in arms about this book making it and another book not. However, if it were by a black author, I’d go see it just the same. I went to see The Great Debaters because of the same reason I’ll probably go see The Help, it’s the type of story that I like to see and read. And, I’ll probably take my Grandma.

    • Yep, me too. I think it’s because the protagonists are so strong and overcame so much. I’m moved by the struggle. That sounds a little patronizing – not how I mean it at all. Whenever I read/see something set in that time period I am always humbled by how far we have come and by the sacrifices made by those who paved the way.

      The mother of a friend of mine worked as a maid until her retirement. My friend would always say thing like “my Mom helps this family…” or “my Mom is cooking for…” It took me a while to realize her Mom was a maid. The way she couched it made me feel as though she was ashamed of what her mom did. I can totally see how she would not be moved to see this movie at all. Interesting that you have a different take on it. I wonder if you’d feel the same if you weren’t a generation removed?

  6. Opinions are always going to vary, always. I read everything! Everything that I like. The thing about african americans, which I am, is that we are either expected to be hood or bourgeois(sp).I admit that white people have the ability to make all kinds of movies, A-list, B-list etc. We are expected to make every movie or write book about the shining people that we are. If we don’t we are killed and the media. Example, Tyler Perry. If somebody white represents us in the form of a book or a movie there is hell to be raised. If like something i read or watch it. If I don’t like it, I don’t. Maybe I don’t have enough information on the ins and outs of movie making and book writing. That’s ok too. I still laugh at Madea, read urban lit on occassion as well as watch a independent film and read a NY Times bestseller. It’s all about what I like and I’m thankful for the choices!

    • Represent, I think, is a powerful word. I’ve never thought that popular culture “represents” us and I don’t think it should. But I’m aware enough to realize that a lot of perceptions about people are formed by what folks see/read/hear so I totally understand that view.

      I’ll never forget a former coworker – who is white – asked me who “our” leader was. Leader? Yeah, you know, who leads y’all? Um, we don’t have a leader dumbass. Do y’all???

  7. It kind of annoys me when some black people constantly get pissed off about books like the Help but then they keep primarily buying or writing media about servant, struggling or enslaved black people. As you pointed out, this type of thing is our history and it shouldn’t be censored. But it doesn’t help that many black people (as a collective) have spent the most time dissecting and rehashing the same old talking points and not doing anything, in effect painting ourselves (consciously or not) as a one-dimensional race. Yet they get upset if other races paint us in the same way.

    I’m sorry but it takes two to tango. If black people are so annoyed about their portrayal, then why don’t more of them write and support more positive books/media? Yes some people will always be racist and building a better image won’t change our image overnight. But if they don’t do that, then whose fault is it really? I say they made their bed, so they will sleep on it.

    Back to the books: I honestly believe that if Kathryn wrote a story centered on empowered black women, some black folks would STILL find something negative to say about it simply because a white person wrote it. I agree with the person who said that if The Help had been written by a black person, it wouldn’t have gotten the backlash it did – it’s business as usual. So I don’t believe for one second that the backlash is about the subject matter, it is mostly about the race of the author.

    I, too, love a good book by black authors and about black characters. I love reading a good book about people I can relate to, and it’s even better if it’s a black woman I can relate to. But like you, I’m not picky and I enjoy diversity in what I read. But if I stuck to mostly black authors/characters I would be reading the same kind of subject matter 90% of the time.

    What I’m reading right now? Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. Yes, I’m enjoying it.

    • I think that today’s black authors – at least those I’ve run across – do have a tendency to churn out annoyingly similar books. I hate to say this but I don’t think I’ve read anything published recently (by a black author) that’s been worth two licks. I’m going to have to think about whether or not I’m making that up…

  8. I love to read and primarily read fiction…well…almost exclusively fiction. Fiction because I love stories. The story of the Help is a very common story in that area..so I don’t understand why so many are up in arms! For whatever reason, this story connected with enough people to get on the NYT Bestseller list and stay there for years.

    I honestly think the book is mediocre…but the movie looks like the hotness because of the actresses! There are VERY few book to movies that are better but I think this may be one. The other one is How Stella Got Her Groove Back. That book was miserable.

    So in a nutshell, I was entertained but not impressed with The Help…I have recommended people read it because its a good “story” and I am looking forward to watching the movie!

    • Oh…I think The Color Purple movie was better than the book! So that is 2.

      And I make an effort to read the book before seeing any movie just to compare and contrast 🙂

    • I have to ask…did you watch Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency on HBO (with Jill Scott)? Have you read the books? Which did you prefer? I read the series after I watched the series and I thought they were both good.

      I just can’t with you and Monica and The Color Purple! The movie was okay, but I loved the book.

      Stella wasn’t my fave – book or movie.

      I’m the opposite – I’d rather see the movie first. Always.

      • If I see the movie first, I read the book with the scenes from the movie playing in my head. I HATE that!! That’s why it’s taken me so long to finish ‘Lord of the Flies.’ I was trying to forget the movie. But every scene brings it back. Spoiler alert. But somehow when watching the movie, even if I’ve read the book, I can almost always just live in and enjoy the moment.

  9. Like I said on FB, have no desire to read this book or see this movie because my grandmother was a maid for white folks so I have no illusions about how life was for her and about her interactions with her white employers. Kathryn Stockett can’t tell me shit, honestly.

    Then when I found out that she appropriated large parts of a maid who worked for her sister’s family REAL LIFE for her book and seems to not have fairly compensated this woman pissed me the sam hill off. And much like Akima, I tire of the magical negro-ness of it all. Miss me with that, please!

    • I wholeheartedly agree that she owes the real Abilene some money. At first I thought Abilene didn’t have a case, but after I read a few articles, yeah, she needs to pay her what she owes her. Whatever happened with that – do you know?

  10. I can’t believe you’re over here talking *bleep* about the *bleeping* help!! HOW DARE YOU!! J/k. Um… yeah. I would’ve been perplexed w/that discussion as well. Especially from people who haven’t read it. If you haven’t read it, you’re really showing your ignorance. Those women had strength and pride that had nothing to do with their occupations. And the idea that we shouldn’t talk about those sorts of stories in books??? I can halfway give you movies b/c of the images of blacks that make it to the big screen. And honestly I rolled my eyes when I saw “The Help” was becoming a movie. The trailer REALLY makes it look like a white savior helping sassy black women. Straight stereotypes. I’m gonna guess that some of that ire was based on the trailer since AGAIN, we’re clearly dealing with people who didn’t read the book. LE SIGH!!!

    And while we’re on the subject of being mad, you NEED to be getting mad about those trashy black books that every college student in America feels it’s a rite of passage to read. THAT’S what the prof needs to ban. Read something with half decent writing, no matter the author’s race, gender etc. (On gender, I’ve read some really good/funny chick lit-type books written by men from a women’s perspective.) I actually had The Help recommended by a professor. & I really enjoyed it. There were some sections that were a bit rough in the writing dept. but was it one of the better books I’ve read in the last year? Definitely. *I know this comment bounced around but you get what I’m saying*

    • I’m confused here. So I’m ignorant (cause I was involved in the intital FB discussion that triggered this post) because I didn’t read the book??? I didn’t read the book because I didn’t care for the subject matter and it didn’t MOVE me enough to want to pick it up. Thus, it correlates that I probably wouldn’t want to see the movie either.

      That’s a somewhat unfair assumption you’re making, I think.

  11. I love books and I love to read. I like to read all genres from all authors as there’s usually something I can learn. There was a time I was stuck on Black authors but that’s because my library labeled those books as African American. I got tired of them because most of them were what I called “Black Trash”.
    I read the Help and enjoyed the book. It was sort of anticlimatic, because I expected something bad to happen to the main characters, since that was the case for so many books written in that era. I couldnt relate to the subject matter from a personal perspective, but it made me think about how so many have been the Help and it humanized it.
    I saw previews of the movie and somehow I dont think the movie will capture all the nuances that go in to being the Help. I also saw an interview the author gave many years ago which told why she wrote the book – it was part autobiographical. This increased my respect for the author and the book.

    • It was way anticlimactic! I think it was the first electronic book I read and I kept thinking I’d somehow deleted some pages.

      I’m going to have to ask my Mom if my grandmother ever did day work. I know she was a teacher, but I imagine she had to work to pay her college tuition and I cannot imagine that she had many job options from which to choose.

  12. I read the book and actually enjoyed it. Not the subject matter so much as the way it was written (it kept my attention). I suggested this book to my book club and we also plan to try to see the movie together. We tend to read books from authors both black and white. We also try to read a little of everything so as not to get stuck in one type of book. I can understand how some people did not like the book. There are plenty of books I have read that I hated but this one was okay to me.

  13. I didn’t nor would I ever read a book with subject Blacks as servants. WAIT…I went too far. I would read a book about Blacks as servants written by the Black person who was the servant. Their story and their point of view.

    I’m 51 years old, I grew up in the 60’s, I was a child but I have a very good memory of the 60’s. Segregation and servitude are not among them. I don’t know too many Black folks who get the warm and fuzzies about those times. It was all 50 years ago yet the book world and Hollywood felt it relevant enough to stand up and applaud for it. They are both too comfortable with seeing Blacks in this type role.
    My Grandmother was a housekeeper for a White family. They were good people to the best of my knowledge. But the one thing I HATED more than anything else was that they used to send their hand-me-down clothes home with her. I was an evil azz little 6 year old. I used to tell my Mother that those White folks need to be told that all of Grandmom’s grandchildren have a mother and a father with GOOD jobs and we don’t need their trash. And i wouldn’t wear anything they sent, regardless of the condition! My Mother used to politely bag up the clothes and give them to the church. This book reminds me too much about those times.

  14. I love reading and will try almost anything once. The genre of books I can’t stand are the urban fiction books about the stripper-turned-prostitute-turned-drug mule type of stories. BUT, if it gets people reading that wouldn’t normally read, it did some service. They just aren’t my cup of tea. I don’t see what the hype is about The Help. I’ll read the book before I see the movie (because the books are always better) and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

    Ignoring what our history is does not make it go away, does not reduce the stigma, and sure as hell doesn’t cure racism or discrimination. It’s a STORY. There are plenty of them out there. For the folks complaining, I want to tell them to SHUT UP AND WRITE THE STORY THEY WANT TO READ!

    • Those urban fiction books are what’s hot in the streets – I’ll pass. I can’t figure out why authors I enjoy – and new authors – aren’t writing the types of books I like to read. I wonder if they have – as it’s been suggested – just given up because the audience isn’t there? Or at least they perceive that the audience isn’t there, because I believe it is.

  15. @ OneFromPhilly – Now I want to make my Mom read the book to get her opinion. You’re right in between us age wise – I’m almost 40, she’s in her early 60s. I wonder which side of the fence she’d stand on. She grew up in the very segregated South and while she describes a pretty idyllic childhood, I KNOW she has strong feelings about race.

    You ma’am, have always been a force with which to be reckoned!! I love spunky children!

  16. I read the Help and while I didn’t like the way it ended, I did like the book. As I read the book, I visualized movie scenes and that was before I even knew they were making a movie. My family turned it into a book club last Thanksgiving. My great aunt and grandmother (both over 80) read it and loved it. I think they liked it because it was a story about the lives of maids.. a story that might have been swept under the rug or shown in a romanticized light (bafoonery, etc) in the past. My family is based in Central Florida ( THE SOUTH) They were surprised that the author was White as was I. In fact, if I had known before I started the book that the author was White I would not have been as eager to read it.

    I’m a firm believer that in order to do a valid critique of something you have to read or watch it. If a book’s synopsis doesn’t move you or you don’t like a particular genre, that is a normal personal preference. But to be very critical and drag a particular work that you haven’t watched or read through the mud is a little presumptuous. I think portraying a maid and a story about the lives of maids are two different things Does reading about maids make me happy like a love story would? No! But its still interesting reading to me. There are certain movies and books I just won’t read or see so if someone refuses to see any story related to black maids, more power to them. Now if the maids were skipping around acting happy and what not-that would bother me. I do prefer black authors and I also prefer historical fiction so the Help was right up my alley. Some of my favorite authors are Marita Golden, Lalita Tademy and Diane McKinney Whetstone. and Erika Nicole Turnipseed. As far as Chick-lit I do like Emily Giffen, who is white. (Something Borrowed-book way better than movie!)

    From what I understand, the real Abilene only asked for 75K, which is pennies! she deserves that and more.

    I plan to be in the theater on opening night! I do think the trailers for the movie make the book seem “happier” than it really was.

    • I don’t know that I was surprised that the author is white. To me the book isn’t “just” a story about the maids – it’s a story about their employers as well.

      Have you ever read James Patterson? Now there’s an author I was surprised to find out is white – I read the Alex Cross series and I am amazed at how well Patterson has written/developed Cross (a black man).

      • The Alex Cross series are phenomenal. And actually James Patterson others books aren’t nearly as good! He should stick with the black man 🙂

  17. Well I agree with you. I think that no one should be told NOT to read a book. I haven’t read “the help” yet but I do plan on it. I mostly read books by black authors. I enjoy the stories and the storylines. I love J.California Cooper. I’m re-reading for the umpteenth time “some love, some pain, sometimes” . I also like Eric Jermone Dicky( his older books are my favs).

    I enjoy books. But if I’m going to read them for enjoyment, I have to find things that interest me. For me, a lot of the books I’ve read by white authors I didn’t really enjoy much(and really only read them because I was in a book club. . .never again!)

  18. I read the book and have already watched the movie. The book was excellent. I think i may have read the book in a weekend. I also love books about slavery, historical type stuff. Maybe that’s the history buff in me. I think the book was well written and kept my attention. The movie wasn’t as good as the book, but it was also entertaining. They picked great actresses for the roles. When I read a book or watch a movie, I’m doing so for entertainment NOT to relate to the characters. My neighbor growing up cleaned house for a white family and I believe she still helps the lady out occasionally. It just doesn’t strike a strong chord with me like other people. It is what it is and it was a part of history and a way of earning a living for a lot of colored people. ~shrugs~ I enjoyed the book and just may go watch the movie again.

    • I read the book really quickly as well – over the course of a couple of days. It flowed quite well.

      Now I want to see the movie. Before I wasn’t real concerned with it one way or the other. Maybe I’ll catch it while my husband and daughter see the Smurfs (I refuse).

  19. Just color me confused. I have been watching the FB/Twitter debates with much interest these last few weeks. So many of my friends whose opinions I respect fall on opposite sides of this debate, very passionately I might add, LOL. I do plan to see the movie since I have not read the book yet. I think primarily because of Viola Davis. She is such a great actress to me. Also, J California Cooper is actually my favorite author. I have been reading her books since I was in college. I have all of her books and have actually met her in person twice. So I guess that means this genre( slavery, history, civil rights, overcoming obstacles) must appeal to me. I can’t wait for the reviews after everyone who has been waiting on the movie finally get to see it.

      • I’ll be honest and say that I was somewhat on the fence about actually reading the book based on my own personal opinions but once I learned about the lawsuit, it really turned me off. I personally am not going to support this white woman making a buck off off a poor black woman, whose story she basically stole.

      • @TIH. I feel you on that. I didn’t know about any of the brouhaha or even what the book was about when I chose to read it. I downloaded it because it was number one on the downloaded books list.

  20. I loved The Help and I plan on going to see the movie. I am not bothered that the author is white – never cared. I like to read GOOD books. I use to only read books by black authors but now there is so much trash being written that I am not interested in. There are some GOOD black authors. I thought Perfect Peace by Daniel Black was a good book. Anything by Bernice McFadden. (Sugar, Nowhere is a Place, Loving Donovan) I am currently reading A Piece of Cake – (its ok so far)

  21. I love all genres of books. I try not to limit myself, because by doing so I’ll miss out on a great deal. This weekend I plan to buy a copy of The Help. It is a sensitive topic, but it was a way of life.

    P.S. I really like your blog. (corny, I know:)

    Hugs and Mocha,

    • I do agree it’s a sensitive topic. I think one of the reasons I have always been hesitant to hire a housekeeper is because of our history as blacks and the servant roles we were often delegated to. I feel like I’d be exploiting the person even though I would pay fair wages and never mistreat anyone who worked for me. I know a number of black people who use cleaning services and I wonder if they ever think about the fact that they are now the ones hiring “The Help.”

      Thank you!

  22. So, I’m a day late with this. I read the book long ago and I’ve downloaded a digital copy to my e-reader. One thing that I can’t STAND is when the only characters speaking broken dialect are the AA ones. I live in the south and we ALL butcher the king’s English.
    I hated the Bli.nd.Si.de (bootleg), I hated the Gr.ee.nMi.le (notice how those lead actors just sort of faded away). I’ll miss this in the theater, but I’ll watch a bootleg or wait for it on HBO.

    Are you upset with the way minorities (blacks, women, hispanics, etc.) are portrayed in print? -No, not really. Th.e.H.ang.ove.r was quite enjoyable TO ME and those guys were portrayed as fools!

    Do you think too many of the books written are one-sided in their portrayals of these groups? Most peoploe only care about themselves and others who are similar to them. Authors write what they know, so if there is no balanced diversity in their life, how can they write any way but unbalanced?

    Is this something you even consider when choosing what to read? What are you reading now? Are you enjoying it? I mainly read fiction – right now I’m going through a bodice ripper phase. Bernice McFadden’s Glorious was the last thing I read with any substance. I read a few of the books from my kids summer reading lists and they were pretty good. The Last Shot is good and you can actually have a book discussion with your son’s after reading. Mi.cha.elOh.er’s book was also on the list and it was a very interesting contrast to what little of the Bli.nd.Sid.e that I did see.

  23. I haven’t read the book, although Amazon keeps telling me that I should. I thought about reading it, but remembered that CreoleinDC said it made her teeth itch. With all the controversy surrounding it, I’m curious now. I hate the “magical negro” movies, but wha tI hate more is the “white people save us cause we shole cain’t do nuthin’ ourselves” movies.

    There was a time when I only read bougie black folk fiction, because I was tired of reading hood black folk fiction. I wish there was a middle ground, like normal black folk fiction. It doesn’t help that Amazon and the bookstores lump everything together in the “African American fiction” section. I really wish Amazon would stop telling me to read JaQuavis and other foolishness simply because I enjoyed The Coldest Winter Ever.

    I’ve tried to diversify my reading, but I find myself drawn to the same authors.

  24. I loved the Help. It was a page turner and I love page turners. I’m not going to stick with a book otherwise. I don’t care about the subject matter. I think if all the books are glowing representations of African-Americans, then that’s just as bad as if all the books are about slavery, Jim Crow and discrimination.

    It’s fiction. It’s not even historical fiction, it’s just fiction. Now I did read that the author is getting sued because she used the name of a domestic that worked for her brother (or brother in law, something like that). That sucks, but that’s none of my business and the book was good. I’m going to see the movie when it comes out too.

    I’m not about to have my panties in a bunch about things that don’t matter. The Help isn’t paying any of my bills. On that note neither are pundits or professors, so…

  25. I read the book and enjoyed it, however, there were times I had to put it down and compose myself, because I could never imagine living during that time.

    I don’t have any memories of my grandmothers working for white families. One thing I do remember as a child, is sleeping over at a friends house and I needed a shirt ironed. I was told to take it in the basement and the maid would iron it with the rest of the laundry. I remember feeling weird about it and looking at the maid’s face. She smiled and there was something unspoken between us…she made my creases extra sharp that day. 🙂

    In my opinion, many of the domestics in that day, ran the household and had an unspoken rule about how the house was run.

    I have another friend who considers his black nanny like a mom to him. He’s off in NYC now, but whenever he’s home, the first person he sees is his nanny.

    I have zero feelings when it comes to hiring a housekeeper. My housekeeper is Olivia, who is white, and she does a great job. A white guys cleans my windows, a white guy cleans the carpets upstairs. Well done work is all that matters to me, not the color of the person.

    I’ll be seeing the movie.

  26. Pingback: Odds And Ends: The Monday AM Edition « No longer unemployed, no longer a bride…

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