I grew up in this time and place. I have known these people, places and events. But, the vantage point taken in this novel is like none other. I was one of those white women who knew only the enviornment presented. Even then, I knew something was wrong about the strata of the society. But, admittedly, those feelings were vague and, for the most part, irrelevant to my life at the time. This book reveals the hard truth about the cavalier way middle and lower middle class whites treated blacks in the 60ish era especially in the south. Clearly the triumph of this work is the ingenious manner in which the message is delivered to the reader. The irony of oppression is seen more clearly when it is revealed how very much the oppressor "needed" (on almost every level)the oppressed. The engrossing narrative of these families and their hired "help" makes the truth of its message sting all the more. This book is so much more than a book about classism or racism. It offers a look at a time when lifestyles of one race were created, maintained and perpetuated by the subjugation of members from another race. However, this is no pounding morality tale. That is the power of this message. Ironically, the tale is sweet and for me, nostalgic; but its message is insidiously reavealing. If you think you have a pretty good grasp of "how it was then,"
you might want to withold that comment until you read this book. For me, it was spot on.
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