Saturday, August 20, 2011

#99 The Help by Kathryn Stockett

It’s 1962 in Jackson Mississippi, and the times they are a’ changin’. That’s what Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter are hoping, anyway. They’ve risked many lives, including their own, to write a book, in which the black maids of Jackson tell what it’s really like working for white families. The stories these women tell range from touching—a maid who considers her employer a true and dear friend, to horrifying—a maid tricked into washing her own hands with straight bleach. The three writers must watch out for Hilly Holbrook, Skeeter’s erstwhile racist friend, who is paid back for the lies she spreads by being served a healthy helping of humble pie.

Monday, August 15, 2011

#98 So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Friendships, sadly, sometimes come to an end. Lloyd Wilson and Clarence Smith were neighbors and good friends. Tenant farmers in 1920’s Illinois, each worked hard on his own rented land, and on his neighbor’s as well. Marriages also, sadly, sometimes come to an end, and this happens when Lloyd and Clarence’s wife, Fern, fall in love. The marriages on each farm fall apart as does the friendship between the two men. The narrator, who was a young boy at the time of these events, tells this tale of endings, explaining how his own friendship with Cletus Smith, Clarence’s son, abruptly ended when Clarence brings about Lloyd's final end with a gunshot.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#97 Carrie by Stephen King

Every picked-on, bullied, powerless teenager dreams of revenge. Carrie White had been bullied almost every day of her life by the kids at school. Ol’ Praying Carrie, they called her, and dogged her every step with taunts, kicks and tricks. Her mother, a religious fanatic, had often told people they that had a special burning seat waiting for them in hell. She was the worst bully of all, routinely locking Carrie in a closet so the girl would be purged of sin. But this time they have all gone too far. Carrie isn’t powerless after all. On prom night she’ll have her revenge. No burning seat will be left empty.

Friday, August 5, 2011

#96 July's People by Nadine Gordimer

The servant becomes the master in this intense novel about the fictional demise of apartheid in 1980s South Africa. July had worked for white South Africans, Bamford and Maureen Smales, for 15 years. The Smales were liberals who never wanted July to call Bamford “master” as was the custom. The power shift starts with the Bakkie, the vehicle that the Smales use to flee to July’s very rural home when war reaches Johannesburg. The car is the Smales' only means of escape if rebels search July’s home. But July has taken the car from them and what can they do? They owe him their lives and are wrapped around his finger.