I am on a roll with AMAZING books! I read this book for our December Book Club and I couldn't put it down!!! I truthfully wasn't really excited to read the book at first but that's what book clubs are for, branching out your reading list, right? Anyway, I bought the book, took it home, read the first chapter and it was all over from that point. I was hooked big time with the writing, again for me, most of the time, it is about OUT OF THIS WORLD writing, and this book has it as well as a wonderful story. This debut novel by Kathryn Stockett held me captive with the amazing dialect she used with each character. She really new how to develop her characters and it made the book so enjoyable. Each chapter of the book was written in one of the characters points of view, and that kept the story fresh and exciting with every turn of the page.
The story takes place in Jackson Mississippi during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The Society ladies run the town of Jackson, and their houses are ran by their "colored" hired help. The ladies trust the raising of their children to their maids but they don't trust them to polish their silver (a line from the book jacket that has stuck with me). It is a horrible time of segregation, racism, and cruelty in Jackson and three women take it upon themselves to try and change things. The story follows these three women Skeeter (a society lady that thinks things need to change), Aibileen (a black lady that works as a maid for one of Skeeters best friends), and Minny (Aibileen's best friend and also a maid for another crazy rich lady in town). Skeeter is troubled by the way her friends treat their maids and decides that she is going to write a book about the relationships between the maids and the ladies that employ them, from the maids point of view. This is a dangerous project that could end up getting Aibileen and Minny killed, as severe beatings are common in Jackson at this point in time for people that speak out against segregation and civil rights. When the book becomes a best seller things get out of control in Jackson as accusations fly, friends ships are broken, and the maids are terrified of loosing their jobs (or their lives).
While I read this book I felt a profound sense of sadness. I can't believe that there was ever a time of such hatred and cruelty. And then after that I felt ashamed with the realization that a lot of people still think this way. I give great applause to Kathryn Stockett for treading a thin line to write this story. There is a lesson in her words and I am a better person for reading The Help. I have already started recommending this book to anyone that will listen, so if you haven't go out and buy this book ASAP!!
by Kathryn Stockett
If you like this book than read: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See