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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A REVIEW OF A REVIEW ON A BOOK ABOUT A BOOK

The following review was written by me just moments ago. It reviews the February book of the month for the Smart Remarks Book Club. It’s clearly not the best review ever written by me, but it’s not the worst either.
I like the way it compares and contrasts the last two books we’ve read, and points out the great variety we have in the SRBC. On the other hand it was rather short, and shallow. It didn’t go into any of the characters and what made them unique and interesting.
I made brief mention of how race relations might still be the same and how they’ve changed since the early 60’s, but without giving any specific examples or personal accounts. I didn’t address what having a black president means for our country today given the state of race relations only a short 40 or 50 years ago.
The review seemed to ramble a bit without any central theme or coherent conclusion. I'm also baffled by how I could write a proper review of The help without any crass remarks about rotten coochie or pecker pie. And the bit about the Smart Remarks Book Club being like So You Think You Can Dance was plain indulgent nonsense.

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The SRBC is much like SYTYCD in its wondrous variety. In SYTYCD you can watch a, Ballerina and a Latin Dancer doing a Lindy Hop followed by a Tapper and a B-Boy performing a contemporary piece. With the SRBC you can read a book about a flying okie tweener one month and one about WWII German occupation another. Migrating rabbits, vampires & werewolves, teenagers battling to the death, a thief falling in love with the queen that chopped off his hand, frontier life in Arizona, to be or not to be… Pretty, and zombies gone wild are just a few of the topics we’ve covered so far.
This is the way I’ve read since I discovered a love of books; from Jane Eyre to Harry Potter, Great Expectations to The Hobbit, Les Miserables to Tarzan. I love variety and I love the SRBC, and even though this makes two books in a row that are rather serious in comparison to say alien parasite invasions, I thoroughly enjoyed The Help.
I thought it was interesting that besides its status as a historical piece based on actual events, it shared some other commonality with our previous read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”; primarily that it was a book about writing the very book that you are currently reading. They both contained a bridge (I think that’s the proper term), much like the Seinfeld episodes about pitching a show about nothing to NBC executives that would star Seinfeld himself and be about the daily lives of him and his friends. And like TGLAPPPS, The Help contained a large dose of drama and heartbreak, mixed with a lot of humor and very endearing characters. Also… Adelaide Addison / Hilly Holbrook.
The Help was a good book, an important book, and like To Kill A Mockingbird one that highlighted an ugly part of our American history – or perhaps for certain parts of the nation, maybe not completely history. I wonder if illegal Mexican laborers are playing the same role today that black domestics used to play 50 years ago; and are perhaps treated similarly sometimes.
I’d like to think that reading The Help has made me a better person, more conscientious about how I treat others who are different from me in race, religion, or social status, and how I treat the people (person) who cooks my meals, washes my clothes, does my shopping, and cleans my house. I’d also like to think that Oprah would be proud of me.