“Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…”
Reads the synopsis on the back of the book I’ve just started for my book club on Tuesday night. The Help, hit the shelves with a bang and shortly after made it to Hollywood, where the movie was a box office hit. What a great read, full of humanity, perspective and like the caption reads, the promise to enter a vanished world. I turn each page with satisfaction, happy in the knowledge that my tan was being topped up as well as my understanding of life in 1960’s Jackson, USA, I can barely tear myself away from the delicious book but the doorbell rings and I have to answer. Gianni has been coming now once a week for six months, the floors, the bathrooms, and the oven and from time to time she looks after the baby. She hasn’t a key, I’ve read too many stories about maids in the Middle East to give her one and while I have no foundation on which to mistrust her, I like to play it safe. She’s fantastic with the baby, probably misses her own, poor thing. She coos, plays, tickles, feeds and changes him, the only thing I don’t let her do is the white wash, I’m fussy about my whites!
Back to “The Help” and the part where Minny’s adds her own secret ingredient to the cake, what a laugh, brilliant! It comes into my mind that when I’m finished I must lend it to Sarah. She loves reading . She has the time to read as well with both her children in nursery, she gets a few hours in the morning. Mind you, the last book I lent her she left it out all night and the sprinklers destroyed it, she was raging because Ami, her maid, is supposed to clear everything up outside each evening, she’s been keeping a close eye on her since, making sure that she doesn’t leave any chores undone.
Reaching the critical point of the book where Skeeter orders all the toilets to be delivered to Hilly, Brilliant! I my baby cry, shoot, just at the best part! I call for Ghianni, no answer, I sigh as I leave the sun lounger and go inside to look for her,” doesn’t she hear the baby?”, “Sorry Ma’am I was at the bathroom outside”, the one purpose built for maids, fair enough, I thought, I was already interrupted, I’d have to pick up my book later. Desperate to have the book finished for book club on Tuesday night and as always eager to have the opportunity to pontificate ad nauseum I planned on showing Skeeter up for the flake that she was, using the poor Mississippi maids for leverage in her own career and then heading off to the city to lead them deal with the backlash of the book.
Tuesday came and so did an email from Dee, this week’s book club host. Her maid Shama, was sick with the result that Dee had to bring her to the doctor in case she passed it on to the kids. She was cancelling book club, that was one bone of contention but what really annoyed Dee was that Shama was just back from her bi-annual visit to see her 6-year-old daughter and now here she was sick. This week of all, when Dee was heading back to Brisbane and needed to catch up the girls and get her packing and manicure sorted. At least she should be recovered by next week to look after Bingo for the summer, Dee’s new bouncing lab, her pride and joy. I told Ghianni all about it and she kindly made a beautiful chocolate cake just for Dee in an effort to salve the strain that the inconvenience was placing on Dee. I warned Dee to save me a big slice. Bless her.
My soap box opportunity pulled out from under me and my great observations on “The Help” destined to remain unheard, I decided that I would need to find another platform, I too could write a book, I just don’t know what about, but the back would start, “Enter today’s unjust world: Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., 2012…..