13/101—Not the In-crowd

I love to read. 

This went bad for me in middle school.  I wanted to read different books… that were “challenging”.  I wouldn’t read any thing trendy… being that this was the late 90s, I missed A Child Called It and other books I’m sure my 14-year-old self would have loved

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I’ve gotten better.  At some point, I learned that if I refuse to read a book because it is popular, or whatever, I’m the only one who misses out.

Nevertheless, I still have a stigma against books that everyone looooves.  Most recently, that book was The Help.  It seemed like everywhere I turned and everyone was talking about it.  Not only did they love it, but it changed their life.  It was one of the best books they ever read. 

 

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My instinct, even though I’m working past my eighth grade issues, was to roll my eyes and mock those people. 

So I decided to read it—with an open mind.  I took it along with me to my trip to Seattle.

But did I like it?

I was very readable.  I liked the little historical reference—like the introduction of the zip code.  Totally helped pass a 90 minute flight.

And was it worth my mocking it?

This is where I wish I was better at describing books I’ve read. 

I didn’t like the book.  This isn’t to say that it’s bad.  It just felt like it was written using a formula to appeal to people who don’t read a lot of books.  Spunky characters?  Check.  Social issues?  Check.  “Shocking” revelations of how it used to be? Check.

Now there are a lot of books, written in a historical 20/20 hindsight that have an issue that especially bugs me and The Help was no different:  how did the wise main character come to these  ahead-of-her-time and against-the-social-norm ideas?  In 2011, I know people with pretty radical social ideas that—who know?—may become the status quo in 2051, but these crazy concepts didn’t just fall into their heads.  And secretly writing a book (that becomes a sensation!) wouldn’t have solved their issues.

Bottom line, I think there is value in all books.  The Help included.  And there are better  things to poke fun at than a not terrible book.

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