There is a short list of books that I've read over the years that have made me cry: Persuasion, A Heartbreaking Word of Staggering Genius, Cold Mountain...and recent addition One Day. Now tonight, I can add The Help to the list.
My book club read this last year, but I had a new baby and didn't have a chance to read it or go to the meeting and hear what people had to say about it. So it sat on my bedside table all year, collecting dust. Until Thursday night, when I picked it up on a whim.
For those who don't know, The Help takes place in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi and gives a fictionalized account of what life was like there during the early days of the civil rights movement. It tells the story of Aibileen and Minny, two black maids working for white families, and Skeeter, a white girl who wants to be a writer and gets the idea to interview the maids and their friends and turn their stories -- both the good and the bad -- into a book.
For those who have read it, what got me tearing up was the final scene between Aibileen and poor little Mae Mobely. Maybe I've gone soft since having kids, but I had a really hard time getting through those pages. Absolutely heartbreaking.
The Help is Kathryn Stockett's debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from her.