I know that I just finished a review for GovReads (available here) but as you know, if you read it, I was not all that enamoured of it. So I really wanted to choose a book that was a great choice for Women’s History Month and this year’s theme (Writing Women of Color Back into History). The Help is that book.
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.
*Some of you have pointed out that my rating system does not apply to Kindle owners (or Nook, or any eReaders), so I am adding an extra review for those people: Download or Don’t Download. If it’s a Don’t Download you can then follow the rest rating system above.
I agree – this is one of the best books I’ve read lately. Actually, I listened to the audio version and I highly recommend it. The reading is excellent (if I remember correctly, they even used different readers for the different characters) and the characters really come to life. This is a story of struggle, of defeats & triumphs, pain & healing, friendship & enmity, and, most of all, it’s about women from very different places in society who come together with the courage to tell a story to the world that has never been heard before by white, middle/upper class society.