Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Some people can’t get enough of the English monarchy. For some people, young adult sci-fi is an addiction. Others get weak in the knees for true crime, go figure. I myself am a sucker for a Japanese reference, from Geisha’s to the American internment camps, I can’t get enough. So picking, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an easy choice for me.

The book kicks off at the Panama Hotel, an actual Seattle landmark, (just a scant 130 miles, give or take, north of where we live), in 1986. Here between Seattle’s Japantown and Chinatown, the discovery of the belongings of thirty-seven japanese families, presumably sent to interment camps is uncovered, and that sets of the story of Henry Lee. From there the book takes off, alternating between the story of Henry in the 1940’s and the story of Henry in the 1980’s. Central to the book is the relationship between Chinese-American Henry and Japanese-American Keiko, and the challenges they faced due to heightened racial tensions brought on by the war. This book was an interesting look at a familiar subject. Easy to read and sentimental, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you decide to give it a go.

If you read this book and live in the vicinity, a field trip is always fun. Not only is the Panama Hotel a real location, the belongings of thirty-seven Japanese families do actually live there. Order a pot of tea, and peek through the glass in the floor to the basement where the belongings were found.
Caisse, Myself and Amber inside the Panama Hotel

If you host this book, I say take it easy on yourself, brew up a pot of tea and order up take out from your favorite Chinese restaurant. Sometimes it’s nice to whip up the fancy meal and sometimes it’s nice to take the help you can. Cue up a Jazz inspired playlist and enjoy. (Once you've read the book you'll understand why Jazz) Here’s the list I had at my book club, I wasn’t a stickler for keeping it to a certain era, I just wanted to try to set a mood.

1. Beyond The Sea - Will Young
2. Summertime - Ella Fiztgerald & Louis Armstrong
3. God Bless the Child - Eva Cassidy
4. My Funny Valentine - Matt Giraud (An American Idol performance)
5. The Way You Look Tonight - Kris Allen (Another American Idol performance, must have been a "jazz" theme night)
6. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
7. Fever - Peggy Lee
8. A Wink and a Smile - Harry Connick, Jr
9. What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
10. All At Sea - Jamie Cullum
11. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Rod Stewart Featuring Dolly Parton
12 Let's Call the Whole Thing Off - Harry Connick, Jr
13. Fever - Michael Buble
14. I've Got a Crush on You - Linda Ronstadt
Do you have a go-to book type? What's your literary weakness? Ever taken a book based field trip?


Bitter Sweet Author

We read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as our 7th pick way back in May of 2009. Then later it was named, for good reason, #1 book club pick in the Fall of 2009 AND Winter of 2010.

Jamie Ford, inbetween book signings, interviews, and readings, is cooking up his next novel titled Songs From the Book of Souls due to release early 2012. (I unsuccessfully searched for a description, sorry.) As you may have noticed we love to read books and then watch it on the big screen BUT Jamie just announced on his website yesterday that it won't be happening anytime soon with Hotel on the Corner. Not because Mr Ford hasn't been trying, I might add. While basking in the glorious success of his debut novel he has been unsuccessful in striking up an agreeable deal with Hollywood. (Sniffle, sniffle.) I'm not without hope since he said, "Forget about it for the time being." I think this could be a great movie. Don't give up Jamie! I am also happy to report that he is working on a Young Adult series! AND for other book clubs out there, you can call Jamie and have him participate in your book club discussion of Hotel on the Corner.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Puttin' it to Music

Almost everyone’s first response to Sara’s book pick was, “Is it like the movie (of the same name)?” Then before anyone can answer you’re humming Blackbird and daydreaming about Jim Sturgess. Or maybe that was just me. 


Anyway, because the book kicked off with my mind on the movie and then the author opened the book with a quote from the Lennon/McCartney “Across the Universe”, I couldn’t help but think of music the entire reading. So here’s a little playlist I came up with:

1. Across The Universe - I went with the version by Jim Sturgess from the Across the Universe Soundtrack
2. Spaceship - Benny Benassi
3. Rocketeer - Far East Movement
4. Help I'm Alive - Metric 
5. Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time) - Elton John
6. Starlight - Muse
7. Spaceboy - Smashing Pumpkins
8. Forgiven - Deb Talan
9. Waiting for the End - Linkin Park 

If you read the book, my picks hopefully make sense. Anything I missed that would be a perfect fit? 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gingers: Love 'em or Leave 'em?

While reading Across the Universe, much is made of the heroine Amy’s hair.  Fitting, since it’s the beauty and “vivacity of these burnished strands” that set in motion Elder’s search for truth.  Was it the novelty of hair that looked “as if someone has poured yellow, orange and red ink into a glass of water” in the midst of a brown landscape of monoethnicity that sparked Elder’s interest, or would those same locks have inspired an identical response in someone who had seen Titian locks before?  Being part of the 4% of the population that can claim natural red hair, it made me ponder the portrayal of other redheads in literature and to see if they match my insider’s perceptions.

First up, Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.  I love, love, love Anne Shirley.  She’s spunky and fiery in a way that most women, especially girls, were not in that time period.  Anne had passion and wit and got into amazing adventures and mishaps, some in direct relation to her hair.  She had to endure being tormented as a child for her carroty hair and held a grudge for the insults but grew up to accept, if not wholeheartedly embrace, her mane.  I think every redhead has heard “Carrot Top”, “Ginger”, “Red” and the like.  My sisters took it even farther and said I looked like an orangutan, among other things.  I think it’s this incessant teasing that helps form the spunk and sass redheads are known for, so I guess the teasing was a good thing, because I seriously enjoy spunk and sass.

Next up, Pippi Longstocking.  Every redheaded girl has been called Pippi in her lifetime.  While the movie version is one of the most inane and unwatchable pieces of screen rubbish I’ve ever seen, the character is timeless.  Written by Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren, Pippi is her own person…outrageous and a little bit of a superhero.  Pippi’s implusive, adventurous and imaginative and definitely not boring.  That’s a recurring theme among redheads—personality.  I loved this quote from the web:
All throughout history, from Reuben to Robbins, redheads have been recognized as a rare breed. Blondes may have more fun, brunettes may be brainier, but when it comes down to raw energy, creativity, and personality … you just can’t beat a redhead.  Well, you can, but beware … she’ll probably beat you back!
My conclusion, from both reading and personal experience, reaffirms my opinion that redheads are not for everyone.  In fact, I rarely like other redheads (fellow Book Babe, Sara, notwithstanding).  It may have something to do with the dynamic of two people that are used to being one-of-a-kind suddenly being not so unique or it could be that I’m just a big jerk.  Either way, I’ll blame it on my hair.  We redheads can get away with stuff like that.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Twinkle twinkle little stars

"They are all that I had ever dreamed of; they are nothing I ever expected." Elder changed the day he saw real stars. They were the most beautiful things he had ever seen and he could never be deceived by lightbulbs again. Has anything ever affected you in a similar way? Or ever dreamt of something then to have it exceed your expectations? Although I don't think these had quite the same profound affect on me as the stars did to Elder here's what came to my mind.
First, a destination I've seen and found awe inspiring, as many probably do, the Grand Canyon.
Looking back I realize how young and stupid I was. We peeled out on this wonder and took off to Las Vegas.

Next, even though he's moody and bites this little fella exceeds my expectations daily.

And, one place I secretly want to experience.....

A ride to the top of the world's tallest building in Dubai......until then I will keep dreaming.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

I almost didn't pick this book. Want to know why? Because of the reviews! There were so many mixed reviews I almost changed my mind. I am so glad I didn't. This sci-fi had mystery and romance. It also had some twists in the end that had me pleasantly surprised.

Across the Universe is about Amy and Elder. Amy is from sol-earth and Elder is from the ship Godspeed. Amy was cryogenically frozen to travel hundreds of years to live on a new planet and Elder will live and die on the ship. What do Amy and Elder have in common? Amy was unplugged and violently woken from her frozen dream-like state, someone tried to murder her. Amy teams up with Elder and together they unravel the secrets of Godspeed while trying to discover the murderer before he kills again. This book has a really interesting premise that will get you hooked immediately and when it's over have you asking "How would I have reacted?"

Book Club

Usually I try to go with a theme for our meeting, but with science fiction it becomes more of a challenge. Instead I just tried to do good food. I stumbled across some recipes that will go into my permanent file because they were so simple to make but very flavorful.


I made steak and mushroom puree wrapped in puff pastry (just so-so), Italian herb mashed potatoes (yum!) and zucchini and carrot a scapece (Mmm Mmm good). The scapece can be made the day before which cuts down on last minute freak-outs before the actual meeting, bonus!

Zucchini and carrot a scapece

1/3 cup olive oil
5 large zucchini, sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced
1 lb. carrots, sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Heat half the oil in a large skillet, add zucchini, salt and pepper. Fry until golden, stirring occasionally. Transfer zucchini to a baking dish with a slotted spoon. Stir half the garlic, basil and mint in. Add remaining oil to frying pan. Add carrots. Saute till golden. Transfer carrots to zucchini mixture. stir in remaining garlic, basil and mint. Drizzle the vinegar over vegetables and gently toss to coat. Cool to room temperature. Cover and let marinate 8 hours or overnight. Let warm to room temperature before serving.


My dessert is perfect for those who want to host a dinner but have limited time to bake. All you do is by those pre-made shortcakes. Take one, fill the center with fresh berries and jam or fresh peaches and vanilla pudding or anything really. Top it off with another shortcake. Frost it and decorate with fresh berries and mint leaves. Voila, a adorable mini cake! Cut in half and serve.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Did You Hear That?

No worries, that was just me, squealing like a fangirl and dancin' around the laundry piles in my room. I've been on pins and needles waiting for Water for Elephants to get a family friendly rating so I could finally share and discuss.

Ok, first a confession is in order, this book was not on my radar at all until this lovely was cast....

                  VMan- Robert Pattinson

Then all of a sudden I decided I was interested in a Depression-era circus romp. It has been almost a year since I read the book, so I'm sure I've forgot some important bits, and I will admit, there were times in my reading I didn't love the book. It took some, um..., 'coarse' turns. But ultimately, I loved Jacob, and not just because I was picturing Robert Pattinson. I loved the completeness of this novel. So many times when I read a book, I want to know what happened next, the dual perspectives of ninety year old Jacob and college age Jacob satisfied my need to know. There was also a bit of a mystery through the book that added another layer of interest. Finally, some might consider this a spoiler, so consider yourself warned, but I like order, symmetry and tidy endings and while this book definitely had it's dark moments, this book ended with me in happy tears, completely satisfied.

Then came the trailers.

I love the creepy carnival music in this next trailer.

So, pretty much you'll find me at a theater next weekend. Will I see any of you there?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paper VS Pixels


I'm usually the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" type of person. I dragged my feet getting an email, now I love checking it. I swore I didn't need a cell phone, now it never leaves my sight. I refused to text, now it's my favorite way to communicate. So when the Kindle came out, I rolled my eyes and poo-pooed it. "Real readers will miss the feel of pages," I thought, "We've had books forever, no one is gonna want that".......Then my husband gave me a Kindle for my anniversary. I now sing a different tune.

IT'S AMAZING! Here's why:

1) I am a small one bedroom apartment dweller, so space is very limited. I would love to keep all our book club books and my personal reading books, but what space I have I dedicate to kitchen appliances and shoes. So I give them away or try to resell them. But with the Kindle I can keep them ALL!

2) My husband and I read books aloud together. We have our own series we follow. Then I have my book club book and a other random book I read on the side. So at any given time I am in the middle of at least three different books. That made packing for vacation quite a pain. Not any more, they all fit nicely into my purse.

3) One reason I balked at getting a Kindle is because I imagined it would be like reading from a computer monitor all day. You know, you get all squinty and headachey from staring a monitor for to long. And, given the right book, I can read all day! With the Kindle, it has a special E ink Pearl Technology and not being back lit, it looks like a page out of a book. It still shows maps or pictures, whatever would be in the original writings.

4) When I am reading a book club book, I am always looking for favorite quotes or points to share at the next meeting. I think I will remember where it was later, but inevitably I would forget. With the Kindle, while I'm reading, I can click and highlight a part or type notes at a section. It will saves all the info together for easy reference.

5) A lot of older books are free! Which is so nice on my shoestring budget. Also, when I do get a new book, I get it in 60 seconds. No leaving the house, no waiting for the mailman! No back-order!!

All in all, I vote pixel. I know, I know....I too swore I would miss REAL books. You might be like me though, you just have to see it to believe it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Do you smell that?

All the food talk from recent posts and our Help book club outing got me thinking about well, food and food that smells good and the memories associated with it. And that thought gave birth to this question: Is there a certain smell or favorite scent that brings back memories? In an attempt for our followers to get to know us alittle bit better, one layer at a time, here's how some of us girls answered this question.

"There are lots of scents I think are sniff worthy, and that bring back good memories. Freshly brewed coffee, baking cookies, new clothes from Nordstrom . . . but the very first thing that popped into my head when I thought about this question was blackberries. Not the sad little ones staring back at you from their plastic in your grocer's veg section. I'm talking about the fat, juicy ones ripening on the immense, jungly vines in my mom's back pasture - or will be anyway come late August. I don't live on two acres in rural Southern Oregon anymore, mine is a much more cementy, urban landscape now. But every now and again I'll catch a whiff of that slightly sweet, floral, woody smell and it'll take me right back to being 10 years old on a hot August evening. Picking as many blackberries as my plastic pail could carry. Some to eat fresh, some for pie and some hopefully to make a batch of delicious blackberry pancakes with."

~ Elisabeth ~

"I’ll confess, I balked at the idea for a question of scents, do I even have a favorite? Then more I thought about it, I realized I actually do, there’s a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in that question.

The first thing that popped into my head was this violet perfume my cousin had, it was sweet and not overly floral. It brings back memories of playing at her house and, looking back, making the kind of mess that as a parent, now drives me nuts. I remember playing in their basement barely emerging, even for food (which if you know me at all is a big deal). Caisse said we got extra points if our smell related back to books, and while this isn’t a direct ‘scent’ association, this cousin and I always had an awesome relationship with reading. I remember talking books with her from Narnia to later Poetry. We even in our younger years wrote each other our own stories. Sadly, I’ve never been able to track down the original scent, but I’ll catch hints of it every now and then, and I always have such a strong nostalgic reaction. Any one know how to help me track it down?" ~Andrea

And for me this is easy but makes me alittle sad and maybe a little happy all at once. Sunflower was my absolute favorite perfume when I was in grade school and into middle school. Did anyone else love this too or was it just me? It reminds me of summer and spring break road trips to California visiting step family and going to lots of amusements parks and bungee jumping with my brother. It reminds me of riding in the back of a pickup (with a canopy) all the way home from Cali, looking at New Kids on the Block mags. (Yes that was my reading material back then.) And in that same era taking a hippy bus, from Eugene to Cali, just me and my cabbage patch kid and a bunch of hippies, making music with pots and pans, and discovering hippies don't wear swimsuits. Those summers feel like a life time ago. I have to admit that I still have a bottle and every now and then it takes me back to the Golden Gate Bridge and fake snow at Sea World. ~CAISSE

Whenever the smell of old wet wood wafts by, most people are repelled. For me it's like childhood summers giving me a passing smile. Yes, I know musty wood isn't normally a pleasant odor but whenever I get a sniff I can almost hear the waves lapping the sides of my dads old wooden boat. My dad lived on a large wooden sailboat. "One mast away from being a ship," he always said. Growing up, in the summer dad would take me and one of my cousins on a week long sailing trip. We would go crabbing, camp on small islands, jump off the boat into the water, and ride the very bow of the boat when going over huge waves. We would eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast and jalapeno burritos for dinner. I would read lazily in the sun and then run wild like a grubby ban-shee.

Then I would go home stinking like a musty boat, smiling at my taste of freedom.

What about you? Is there a nostalgic scent that catches you off guard or that brings you comfort?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Promised Myself I Wouldn't Cry.....

Well, the wait is over, no more guesswork, no more lobbying, Gale and Peeta have been cast. I had prepared an entire post on the ‘potential’ Gales but that ship has apparently sailed. 
So I’ve come to terms with the Peeta pick, Josh Hutchenson was not my first pick, but like Randy Jackson, “I’m not mad”. I see how it can work. 

Josh Hutcherson Picture
Josh Hutcherson
Now Gale, the pick for Gale has my blood boiling. I didn’t think I would even care, but I thought Gale was a no-brainer, I had him so pegged in my mind. He’s a little dangerous, which I know isn’t a physical description, but you know how that translates. He’s a little emo (minus the guy-liner) and I don’t know why this is important to me, but he has dark floppy hair. And he’s got those kind of looks that are ethnic, you just can’t quite figure out which ethnicity it is. Maybe this guy doesn’t exist. aybe my standards are too high. Anyway, what do you think, is Liam Hemsworth Gale? Maybe I’m being too hard on him because he dates Miley Cyrus. Chime in, set me straight.

Liam Hemsworth Picture
Liam Hemsworth 'Gale'

One last thought, what do you think about this guy? Does his Nickelodeon career make him ineligible for the 'dangerous' bit? 

Avan Jogia Picture
Avan Jogia


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Random Harvest

This story is about Charles Rainier, a man who went to WWI and became shell-shocked. He cannot remember 3 years of his life. He is a successful and influential business man that is elected to Parliament. None of this could have been done without his elegant, clever and beautiful wife. Yet despite all of his success, he knows there is something missing in his life. Something that he can't quite put his finger on. Something from those missing three years.

This was my first book club pick and I am still so happy I picked it. Looking back through the book, I am reminded why I liked it. First of all the way it was written. Most stories are from the point of view of the main characters. Not this one, the opening pages are from the point of view of a (so-it-seems) random man on the train. He is watching Charles and is intrigued by him. They enter into discussion and soon become friends. Everything is from his point of view or told in third person, like he's relating the story back to us. Second, I really enjoyed the stark contrast between Charles rich and entertained but slightly empty life to the one he discovers he had in those three years. He was very poor but so very happy. Third, I love that the closing line is the clencher for the whole book. James Hilton keeps you in anticipation up to the very last second.

For the book club I did a very English dinner. Nothing to outstanding, but I am proud of the keepsake I gave everyone. Since this was a book about lost memories I gave everyone a small memory box with a smaller picture of our book club.


Monday, April 4, 2011

A taste of the south....

While reading The Help I realized that what I know about the south is largely based on Gone With the Wind and Roots. From those two very different perspectives, I didn't know what to think. I feel like Kathryn Stockett filled me in. My naive eyes were opened. I was disgusted and sad, amazed and surprised. I hope and pray that I never treat another human being that way. I recommend this book to EVERYONE.

Even though fellow book babe Crystal already touched on this, I have to agree. The Help had me thinking about food the entire time. After we went to the Screen Door I couldn't get southern food out of my head. Italian, Mexican and Chinese food were all regulars in my kitchen, so I decided to add in deep south flavors. One thing I HAD to try was Minny's caramel cake. Whew, I can see why she said she "had to talk to myself when I make a caramel cake or else I get too jittery" (page 216). It is a process! I stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. But I still didn't stir enough. My caramel wasn't quite thick enough for frosting, but it was still gooey goodness. You cut a slice and pour on the sauce.

The only time I can remember having grits was stealing a bite from Crystal's plate at book club. So I also attempted that. I made a chicken bacon wine sauce to go over them. It was pretty good but grits remind me of Cream of Wheat so it was hard to not expect sweet instead of savory. Sometime I will have to try them a la Mae Mobley, Aibileen said "I fix some grits without no seasoning, and put them baby marshmallows on top. I toast the whole thing to make it a little crunchy. Then I garnish it with a cut-up strawberry. That's all a grit is, a vehicle. For whatever it is you rather be eating." (page 283) Yum!

"Got to be the worst place in the world, inside a oven. You in here, you either cleaning or getting cooked"
Yes, I made a ridiculous amount of caramel!!

The Help Goes Hollywood

Talk about a book that will make you feel guilty for something you didn’t do and prejudices you don’t hold. It is such an eye opening book about attitudes and history that I was completely unaware of. Could this really have been only 40 years ago? In books like this I always wonder who I would have been, Would I have been brave enough to be Skeeter, would I have been the oblivious Mrs. Leefolt, would I have been the horrendous Hilly? I’d like to think I’ be Lou Ann (minus the depression and suicidal tendencies), she wasn’t really brave enough to stand up directly to Hilly, but she did the right thing anyway. One of my favorite bits in the book is a quote about Lou Ann, from Skeeters perspective “There is so much you don’t know about a person. I wonder if I could’ve made her days a little bit easier, if I’d tried. If I’d treated her a little nicer. Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought. But Lou Anne, she understood the point of the book before she ever read it. The one who was missing the point this time was me”  (p.418)
You should read this book, then.....come August you should see it in the theater.


The Help is another of our picks headed to the Big Screen. Before I started reading this book I purposely did not review who was cast as who, I wanted to draw my own conclusions about the characters and then compare, however I did hear that Emma Stone had been cast as Skeeter. Interestingly enough, I could not picture her, no matter how hard I tried. Sometimes when reading a book I never get a real fix on how I picture a character but Skeeter was extremely distinct in my mind. And I know I’m rambling now, but to clarify, just because I didn’t picture her, doesn’t mean I’m pitching a fit over the choice, I loved Ms. Stone in Easy A and I’m pretty sure she has the right spunk to play Skeeter. Quickly scanning the IMBd page I didn’t see much that seemed glaringly off. Most of the credited cast is unknown to me anyway. I do think Sissy Spacek as Mrs Walters is genius. Have you read the book? Do you think it will pair well with popcorn and summer movie madness? 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Num num num

The Help is one delicious book.  That may seem an absurd statement considering the book is about race relations in the 1960s, but I’m standing firmly behind it.  Kathryn Stockett wove food and drink into almost every scene and made me hungry for some Southern comfort.  While I could gladly talk grub for days on end, I’ll limit my commentary to a two-fer of tasty treats.
First was the whole situation of Minny working for Celia Foote.  As wizardly as Minny is at cooking, Celia is equally, if not more, terrible.  But instead of focusing on Celia’s culinary shortcomings, I focused on Minny’s mouthwatering brilliance: fluffy flaky buttermilk biscuits, crispy pan-fried catfish, crunchy batter-dredged fried chicken, soft and sticky caramel cake…I can’t go on because I already gained 5 pounds just writing those down.  Our book club outing at Portland’s ScreenDoor restaurant was as if we were guests at Minny’s table.  From the hush puppies that were a perfect blend of light and crisp to the perfectly seasoned grilled shrimp and tender delicious pork belly swimming in creamy grits, I felt catered to like a guest rather than a paying customer.  If you’re in Portland, I highly recommend ScreenDoor.
Then, dessert.  Sweet luscious decadent dessert.  We all split a succulent banana pie and a chocolate cake of sorts.  Both were pure sugary goodness that would have made Minny proud.  Besides her famous caramel cake, she was also famous for her chocolate pie and to one Miss Hilly, infamous for it.  While I normally wouldn’t recommend revenge in such a potentially e coli riddled way, Hilly sortof had it coming.  Andrea’s mom, Cynthia, makes a to-die-for chocolate pecan pie, but I can honestly say I will now have a moment’s pause before I dig in.  Of course, that won’t actually stop me from having a second helping, but may slow down the third. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Help....An Alternate Twist

I loved The Help. I have many thoughts but I'll limit myself to just one. This is a huge SPOILER ALERT. (Consider yourself warned.) It comes from this storyline:

"Remember I told you Constantine had a daughter. Well, Lulabelle was her name. Law, she come out pale as snow. Grew hair the color a hay. Not curly like yours. Straight it was." Aibileen to Skeeter (Pg 358) If Kathryn Stockett tells me in her fiction book that Lulabelle's father was as black as Aibileen who am I to question her? I'm no Geneticist. But after spending 2 minutes googling 'maids from the South' I found a possible explanation in which the story could have taken a whole different turn.

Apparently, in the South it was common for white wealthy males to take advantage of their black maids. Since black women were very poor and didn't have a lot of job opportunities, as we saw from the book, some gave into the advances (or didn't quit when they were "mistreated") in order to keep their job to feed their family. It sickened me to read that some white males even went as far as to have their white family in the big house and their "family" with the maid in a shack in the back!! Now, I'm not trying to imply anything about Skeeter's dad, I liked the guy, but I'm just saying its one possible explanation.

I started reading the help on the plane to Maui. I read it at night with my too bright book light that attracted gnats which are now squashed around chapter 10. And here I am reading and soaking up some rays by the pool.