As an insight into the lives of domestic help in Mississippi in the 60s, this is a terrific book. As a work of fiction, it is well-written (particularly the author’s ability to convey a range of different voices without confusing the reader) but the story is lacking.
I will admit upfront that I am not a huge fan of writers who write about characters who are writers (i.e. blatantly and obviously themselves). There’s a level of laziness that bothers me about this, so I brought that perspective to this book before reading a single page. I know they say write what you know but if that’s all you know maybe you don’t have enough to say to fill an entire book.
I suspect this is one of those books that a lot of other people will really enjoy but I’m a hard marker and have come down on the side of “could have been better but still a worthwhile read”.
The inclusion at the end of the book of the writer’s own history with her family’s domestic help was a nice touch.
Definitely give it a go and make up your own mind.
*First published on Goodreads 11 November 2013