The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.
I love getting ARCs like this. It’s a gem. Really. I don’t know how you all will be able to wait until February to read it. I’m glad I don’t have to.
The Help is told by three different narrators. One, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, is an educated white woman whose parents own and run a cotton plantation and has returned home from college to find the maid who raised her gone. The other two narrators, Aibileen and Minny, are black women who work as maids for white families. It’s 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi and race relations are volatile. Miss Skeeter wants to be a writer and she wants to write something more meaningful than the Ladies’ League newsletter and the housekeeping column for the local paper. With encouragement from a New York publisher, Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny embark on a journey – to tell the stories of the black women working as maids in white households.
This is just a wonderful, touching book. All of the adjectives I know are insufficient. The writing is impeccable. Much of the book, at least that told by the maids, is grammatically incorrect, but easy to understand. That is no small feat. Also, I loved all of the characters, but particularly Aibileen who raised seventeen children in her lifetime, only one of them biologically hers; sixteen of them white. Aibileen who leaves each family just as the children start to distinguish between black and white. These narrators are brave and kind. They are human and struggling with unique problems. The plot is not at all predictable or old. This is a book that warms and touches and provokes.
This is one of my favorite lines, and it sums up the book nicely:
“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.
Put this one on your wish lists now and watch for it in February. I’m already missing the characters and wishing there was more of their stories. I hope Stockett considers writing a sequel. I know I’d buy it.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett [rating:5]
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