Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Book Report

To my fellow bloggers – have you ever had a post that you couldn’t decide whether or not you wanted to post? I have. I usually blog while I lie awake in bed at night. Once again, this is when I wish that I had a USB cord that connected my brain to my computer so that it would all go in one swift happening. Instead, I lay there….blog and then when I find the time actually get to the computer and blog all over again. But this has been blogged several times in my mind. I even started a draft on the computer, added to it a few times, took away several dozen times and even thought about deleting it for good some times. Wow, whatever am I about to write about? A lot. A whole lot. And nothing to do with my toddler per say or my life or what has happened lately. I will have to say that the lesson learned here will affect my life and how I live it and how I choose to raise my toddler…therefore it kinda fits. You know? Warning – this may be all over the place. Since it has been blogged in segments and I have just no urge to want to sit down and edit and since English and writing really isn’t my forte anyways, I’m just gonna let my thoughts show their true colors. Really.

I love to read. I consider myself a bookworm. I don’t read nearly as much as I would like, but when I get a good book it consumes me. I will lie awake in bed ‘till the wee hours of the morning with my lamp on in the hopes that I don’t wake Byron. I just cannot ever find a good stopping point. When I still lived in Savannah I loved nothing more than sitting on the beach by myself with my toes in the water and a good book in hand. This made my day.

Well, a good friend of mine told me about this book a month or so ago. Then, I had another friend tell me about it, and then I saw it on someone else’s blog that she was reading it. So, I knew it…I had to read it. I told myself I was going to wait until I got through all my Spring/Summer orders before I even touched it, but we all know my battle with my self-control. I lost. So, I started to read. I will say that while this was not the BEST book I’ve ever read, it was BY FAR the only book I have read in a very, very long time that haunted me. And not in a bad way. This book made me think, over and over again. About a lot of things. This book had me crying in several instances, ashamed, embarrassed, joyful, sad and downright pissed (excuse the language, but there is no other term that quite describes it) off at times. This book will stay with me always. Wondering what I read????

If you haven’t read this yet, please do. I will warn you that all the Jackson libraries have like 20 holds on the copies though. This book is about Jackson, MS but it could easily be any Southern town I think. I got mine from the UMC library, so all of you fellow resident wives hit up your hubbies to go grab it for you. Most of all, I know that you, Aunt Penny, needs to read this. I think you will like it very much. I think it will be perfect for the Edisto girl’s trip that I am sad that I am missing yet again. I am not really going to write a book report here, but just want you to know how this book touched me. The author did such a good job of portraying so many feelings and situations all at the same time while brilliantly avoiding looking like a train wreck. Throughout this book, I sympathized, empathized and cried for a number of reasons. Here are just a few.

• My heart ached for the children who are not properly loved by their parents. This just took my breath away that it could even happen. I have seen neglect and abuse from working as a pediatric nurse, but this hit home differently. I cannot imagine how it feels as a child to be unloved by a parent. Although it isn’t the exact same, I relate it to the way an abused, neglected animal feels. Like an animal (especially a dog) a child wants NOTHING more than to please their parents and to have the unconditional love that they feel poured back on them. Sadly, as in the case with some animals, not all children get that love back and that breaks my heart in two.
• My heart broke for the victims of domestic abuse. I have never been in this situation, but have read many of books about it. It just goes over my head and makes me sad for every woman (or man…it does happen) that finds themselves in that situation. Minny, bless you.
• I sympathized for the girl with no confidence or self esteem to realize who she is and not feel the need to follow a crowd that is not worthy. Goodness gracious. I have seen this all too much in my life. I grew up in a town that will eat its young when it comes to social graces. It is brutal, it still is and I think it will always remain that way. I don’t feel that it is any different from any other Southern town though…I’ve seen it all. It is rampant here in Jackson as well. And I just thank goodness for a strong head and a determination to not be one of those girls. I cannot fathom what it would be like every morning to wake up and wonder what you needed to do that day to fit in. I hope and pray that Louisa is never, ever this way. EVER.

But, most of all, I felt ashamed. Throughout the book. On numerous occasions. I am proud of my Southern heritage, but only certain parts of it. I am proud of the accents and the drawls, I am proud that I was raised with manners, I am proud that boys will hold the door for me and people with say please and thank you, I am proud every time I hear someone say “yes mam” or “yes sir,” I am proud of the gorgeous land that the South is with all of it’s live Oaks and Spanish Moss and rivers and marshes and magnolia trees. However, I am not proud of the way the South handled things over the years. I am not going to go too far into this subject since I know it is a very, very controversial subject and I by no means want this to become a sound-board for controversy, but let me just say that I am glad that I was not living in the times of segregation. I don’t think I would’ve survived. My heart ached for the “colored” women, men and children of this story. I think it hurt so much because I know it was all true and more than likely a candy-coated view. I felt ashamed and embarrassed although it is all in the past. Or, is it? I think that is all I need to say there without offending people or hurting anyone’s feelings or creating uproar.

I will have to say that I learned a very important lesson with this book. I learned who I will raise my child to be. She will be a very strong, independent, confident, color-blind woman. I want her to keep an open mind and an open heart and be caring and not cruel. I never want to think that my child caused someone else’s feelings to hurt. I also never want to know of someone hurting her feelings. I know this is impossible and I cannot shelter her, but if I could pick a character for my child to grow up most like…I think I would pick Miss Skeeter. Miss Skeeter reminds me a lot of myself. I do not want to raise a Hilly. DEFINITELY do not want to raise an Elizabeth who is so on for show. I would love to raise a Minny, and with Louisa’s mouth she is well on the way to being a Minny…but erase the domestic abuse. Maybe a modern Southern Belle…is that even possible??

Goodness. I know this was a bit out there, but as I said this book continued to haunt me. I just couldn’t help but to share. Please, read this book. It will open your mind, your heart and your soul and I thank you Kathryn Stockett for giving me insight.

And to lighten this post up. A picture of my sweet Lucy guarding the front door. You see, we have a mail slot. Well, our mail is shredded by the time we get it. Poor Mrs. Susan our mail lady has to drop it in so fast bc Lucy grabs it and growls and shakes it. I have even gotten fabric before that Lucy has punctured! Well, Byron put up this “barrier” of various items this morning since he is expecting a journal that smarty-pants himself has an article he wrote in it. We cannot have Lucy holes in that. :)

Until next time…

13 comments:

Sarah Broadus said...

Makes me so excited to read it! I tried to start last night, but I am entertaining tonight for the first time in 2 years so I had to get all the clothes off the dining room table! ;)

Keri Sullivan Ninness said...

ames- before I saw what you read, I knew it. I knew it was the HELP. I finished it over baby-moon 2010 this weekend. In 2 days. I think my poor hubs expected more out of those 2 days than me with my face in a book but if he'd read it, he'd get it. It should be required reading. I loved every minute. And since you so clearly have great taste in books, please feel free to send me your recent favs. I am tired of reading about breastfeeding.

Russ, Anna, Pepper and Vesper said...

Have not heard of this, but I really don't read, AT ALL. Gotta go get this one now though, maybe it will get me reading again. You know she is gonna be at Eudora Welty library tomorrow, right?!

Penny Ginn said...

Amy - this was actually first read last summer AT Edisto by my friend Beth, who highly recommended it. So I read it and yes, I know what you mean. So much of it was similar to things I saw in my childhood. I've got a friend from Minnesota (bless her heart :) who said that when she read it, she kept having to remind herself that it was actually fairly recent; not ancient history.

Penny Ginn said...

Oh - and I look forward to the day you can join us for our Edisto girls' trip!

kosekcasa said...

Through your suspensful first paragraph I was thinking...I wonder if she's taking about "The Help"? And sure enough...

I just finished it as well about two weeks ago. I just loved it so so much. It was an eye opening read. Our house is in Belhaven and was built in 1929, it makes me wonder what kind of people lived in our home and I only wish these walls could talk...I bet they have some stories...

I too loved Miss Skeeter! And of course Abigail.

Great blog. I'm not reading Memoirs of a Geisha...also very very good.

Lindsey Buck said...

Amy - Thank you for posting this. I definitely plan to read The Help. A Time to Kill is one of my favorite movies ever. It so exposes what I love and hate about our heritage.

PS - Great job with your blog. I love it. Glad I sent you a friend request. :)

Keri Sullivan Ninness said...

why do I not have your email address? Please send to sullivan.kerilyn@gmail.com. Mega important things to discuss- like that book list and scintilla!!!!!!!!!!!!

sashyjane said...

Mama read that and LOVED it. I'll have to check it out soon.

Haha love the picture of your sweet doggie!

Brooke said...

Amy,
I almost emailed you to ask you if you had heard of/read this book. I am reading it right now and am almost finished. I wanted to read it for two reasons: 1) because it's about the South and 2) because I'm a private chef and cook in these kind of homes. Oh yeah, the separate bathroom thing still exists today! Anyway, I'm really enjoying it and it's making me a bit homesick.....

Brooke

Jemsmom said...

Wow! I am new to your blog and came by from Playing Sublimely! I am so glad I did. I live in Charleston, SC. and am from Tennessee so I love good Southern books, but you definitely have me intrigued. Can't wait to read it!

Clint and Jeri Anne said...

I read this a few months ago and totally expected it to be just way too cliche -- especially when written from a Jackson girl's perspective. I was really blown away by how much I liked it!

Ashley said...

this book just keeps getting talked about! i don't think i'll be able to escape having to read it in "all my spare time"!