The Help by Kathryn Stockett

As all of my friends put it…make sure you have your laundry, homework, cleaning, and anything else that NEEDS to be done, finished by the time you start this book.  Cause you for sure won’t wanna pick anything up until you get to the end and find out what happens!

Title: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

My take:

Let me start by saying…I was naive.  Very much so.  As I read this and realized this happened in the 1960’s (only 50 years ago), I was shocked.  I knew things like this happened, but I guess I just didn’t realize that this was within my grandparents lifetime…this wasn’t years and years ago like I blindly assumed.  So there was my wake up call for the week!

This book was great and written in the words of three different people.  Normally I can’t STAND books that flip flop between different point of views and voices, but this author did it really well!   Minny’s sassiness, Aibileen’s faith, and “Skeeter” Eugenia’s curiosity/naiveness along with the actual history of the time show the horrors, but also the hopes of people of all color for change.  It also shows that with change comes a tremendous amount of courage to stand up.

The author’s note at the end made me feel the worries but also the sincerity of her feelings regarding writing a book like this.  Offending people, making sure the stories were true, if she said too much, if she didn’t say enough…I feel like she did a great job showing love while also showing the fear.

As an ending note though, I hope Hollywood didn’t botch up her book with the movie that just came out.  Has anyone seen it?  I still need to…

~Myst

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