Saturday, July 30, 2011
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Amazon.com Book Description:
Three ordinary women are about to take on extraordinary step...
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women-mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends-view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.
My Book Review:
Kathryn Stockett's debut novel, The Help is a profoundly moving and beautifully written story about three women who come together in the early civil rights movement time period of 1962 Mississippi to write a book about the relationships between the colored maids and the southern white families they work for. I love how the author tells the story from the individual perspective of each of the main characters: Skeeter, the young white woman who questions the treatment of the colored help by their white bosses and segregation in general; Aibileen, the older colored maid who has seen a lot of things during her many years of service to various white families, but who has now changed internally with the death of her son; and Minny, the younger colored maid who speaks her mind no matter what and has paid for it by being terminated from one white household to another. Each of these three women are so different from each other, yet they come together with a passionate strong determination to compile a book of stories from the colored maid's perspective on how they are / were treated during their service by the white families of Jackson, Mississippi. In a time when the civil rights movement is just getting started, racial tensions are high, and segregation is the norm, these courageous women band together to create a book that will rock the southern way of life to its core. I loved how the author portrays each of these three women in a believable and touching way; their dignity, faith, courage and conviction shine throughout the whole book. The author's depiction of that turbulent time period in the USA's history is spot on, the storyline is both believable and educational, as she weaves a history lesson for each of us to ponder. The lesson for the reader is that only through tolerance, acceptance and recognition that all people are the same inside despite the color of skin, ethnicity, gender or faith, is how our world can be a happier one to live in.
RATING: 5 STARS *****