Books: The Weight of Silence and The Help

I recently read two excellent books which I would highly recommend!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
You might have seen this book on all kinds of bestseller lists, etc, and for a good reason! It is a compelling read about the culture and relationship between black maid/nanny workers (“help”) and their female employers in the Jim Crow South shortly before the Civil Rights movement. A young single woman decides to take a chance and write a book from the perspective of the “help” and faces challenges convincing the maids of her closest friends to participate by being interviewed, having to do it all in secret, due to the possible repercussions. The book she is supposedly writing reminded me of a real book I read a while back, Drylongso by John Langston Gwaltney, which was a series of interviews of African Americans in the 70’s, I think. Also a very good book which I would recommend.

The Help was a captivating story about the dangers of living in the deep south and wanting to tell the truth, but being unable to do so. And when the characters took the risk…they way it affected them.

I am not one to go on and on about racial injustice in the past, but I am always somewhat ashamed reading about the Jim Crow south. Like I still feel bad about what our ancestors did. Even if my family is not actually southern (my parents came here from Pennsylvania and North Dakota in the 70’s), I still feel responsible that as humans, people let this kind of stuff happen. And it’s not like northerners were all that much better, I think.

Anyway. A good book.

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
I was seriously addicted to this book. I got the audio version, and I went around with my headphones in for like 2 days until I got through the whole thing! It’s kind of a mystery, you aren’t sure for most of the book what is going to happen to the lost girl or what happened to the other lost girl. But I think what I found most engaging was the characters! They were just so well written and complex that you could imagine them doing any number of things and you just didn’t know which way the story was going to go.

The ending was really satisfactory without sacrificing the integrity of the characters. Not all of it ended the way you want, but the loose ends were tied up. I think what impressed me the most is the resolution of the conflict at the end without making it seem fake.

If you are looking for a good read that will keep you engaged and have a nice, satisfactory ending, I would recommend this one!

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