Dear Diary: Happy and Content


Only a moment ago, I was sitting here with nothing to say — a problem that, for me, unfortunately, is not a problem. Then I got an email from Ms NOLA that saved everything. Kathryn Stockett’s first novel, The Help is “the sleeper hit of the summer,” according to USA Today. I should point out that Ms NOLA is at JFK, waiting to fly off on vacation.

The Help is one of the handful books that I’ve been asked, as a blogger, to read in advance. When I say “handful,” I mean “the fingers of one hand or fewer.” I was very careful not to discuss the book with anybody before its publication date. Except for a few friends, to whom I gushed that the book was going to be huge. And I do honestly hope that The Help will be huge. It deserves to be! A book of many threads, its story of a privileged white girl’s struggling to encourage black housemaids to tell their stories without fear of reprisal is nothing less than electrifying! Plus, it features one of the most hateful society witches in American fiction, and we can only regret that Madeleine Kahn did not live to play Hilly.

But enough about The Help. What about the anxiety of influencelessness? I wrote it up in February. Nobody listened to me when I said that The Help is a fantastic American novel, spanning from popular to highbrow.

Before Ms NOLA’s email, I was blathering on about how my personal weather today ranged from Content to Happy, and how boring that was for Dear Diary purposes. Indeed! Thank heaven I’m not happy or content now! The worst of it is knowing that, when you finally do get round to reading The Help, you won’t be thanking me for the recommendation!

Anybody who tells me six months from now that A Meaningful Life is a really great novel is going to get socked. Unless I’m thanked for the recommendation, that is.