Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oceans of Patience

Sarah Stewart has the incredible ability to remember events past and turn them into modern classics for today’s young children. Her gift for nostalgia has produced two books I love, The Library and The Gardener.

I commend her for writing The Friend and the possible conversations from reading it. This is a story that is long overdue and extremely needed. Although, I wish it was available 20/30 years ago, allowing more time for the civil rights generation to share.

In the South, things were separate and unequal to keep the races from mingling. One of the few acceptable interactions would be between employer and employee. This interaction was not equal; however, it did allow opposite races a means to acceptable conversation. Many laborers that worked indoors with the family became part of the family. If you truly accepted the house cleaner as part of the family, wouldn’t you want to stop the oppression of unequal treatment?

House cleaner Bea isn’t accepted as a family member from the parent’s point of view, but from the child’s she hangs the moon. It is obvious that Belle loves Bea and Bea loves Belle.

When racism is the topic in book clubs, a scenario loops like a stuck record needle. The older women proclaim they had a “Mammy” or “Auntie” that they loved; yet, “No, we can’t put benches outside the library. Certain people will lay about discouraging visitors.” My understanding, yes they truly loved their caregivers, but never considered them equal.

I believe that as Belle looks back on the wonderful gift that was Bea her thoughts aren’t of race, injustice, or equality. She is purely thankful that Bea was there to watch over her when no one else cared. Belle’s thoughts concentrated more on the ocean of patience Bea had just for her.

Maggiereads Note: I learned from judging books, that this title appeals more to adults than to children.

No comments: