I started The Great Gatsby but quickly realized that I wanted to read a nice light book to cleanse my “palette” from the heavy Dickens I just consumed. So I grabbed The Help, a novel about African American maids working for white families in Mississippi in the 1960’s. It was easy to get immersed in and definitely a light read, which is surprising when you the topic is anything but fluffy. Ultimately, I felt it really was a “junk food” book though, and the topic deserves more than to be sugar-coated.
The main character is Aibileen, an African American maid working for a white family. She has taken care of white children her entire life, including two in this book. The one child’s name is Mae Mobley, a little girl who is neglected by her mother, who only pays attention to her in the form of punishment, simply when she acts like a normal child. Aibileen sees this mistreatment and in an attempt to not let Mae Mobley feel badly about herself, she tells her a phrase and repeats it constantly. So that’s my quote below:
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help