The Help by Kathryn Stockett


“The Help recreates a time — Mississippi in 1962 — that is totally engrossing and pitch-perfect. This story of women in the South, black and white, in the eye of a hurricane of monumental change is thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable.”
— Sheila Burns, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

Indiebound Pick February 2009

After hearing more than one customer proclaim The Help as the best book they had read in years, I had to wait until it stayed in stock long enough for me to buy a copy to read myself. It’s the debut novel by Kathryn Stockett which takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s. It is about three women, one white and two black, in Mississippi in the early 60’s. The main character is a recent Ole Miss journalism Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan who aspires to be a writer.

She’s single which seems to cause her mother and friends perpetual turmoil. I mean 22 and still unmarried – THE SHAME & HORROR! Although, maybe her friends need some turmoil because her closest childhood friends are right racist bitches. One is the president of the Junior League and is determined to get her sanitation project which encourages separate bathrooms for health reasons published in the League’s newsletter which Skeeter writes monthly.

Somewhere in the middle of this Skeeter decides to write a book, in secret, which features the stories of Aibileen and Minny who are the maids for two close childhood friends of Skeeter. Due to the racial tensions, it puts all of their lives at risk. The book is told in the first person from Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny’s point of view.

I can definitely see why everyone has been proclaiming it the best book they’ve read in a while. It’s cohesive, powerful, and emotional. Stockett also is skilled at giving the characters depth. The president of the Junior League is a good friend and a loving mother. She’s not all evil. Skeeter isn’t all halo and angel wings either. It’s a thought provoking read without being preachy.

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