Friday, April 30, 2010

The Help by: Kathryn Stockett

The Help by: Kathryn Stockett


A new perspective in the civil rights movement. It takes place just as the movement is getting underway and is told from 3 perspectives, 1 white woman (Skeeter), 1 older black woman (Aibeleen) and 1 young black woman (Minny). The black women both work as maids, which seems to be the only work black women were able to get in Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter is desperate to be a writer, and she gets a mentor in New York. She encourages Skeeter to write on the movement from the perspective of maids in the area. She writes stories with the help of Aibeleen and Minny.

I don't want to give much away. Aibeleen has raised 17 children, and when we come in she is starting a new job with a new baby. It's really heartbreaking to watch this story unfold, where you see these families fully hand over their children to black women they barely know, but think they'll catch a nasty disease if you use the same bathroom...and Aibeleen does a better job raising and loving that baby than the mother does.

Minny is outspoken...she's been fired a LOT for her mouth. She has a nasty secret about why she lost her last job, that she won't share with anyone. But because a certain woman who thinks she runs the town has spread rumors that Minny stole silver...she can't find anything except a strange job out in the country. I love how this one unfolds...it's not perfect but it is entertaining and she is finally with a good family and is told she has a job for life.

Skeeter was best friends with that woman who supposedly runs the town...and she offended her because of a little typo in the league newsletter (ended up getting a lot of toilets dropped off in her front yard). So she is cut off from everyone in the town. She meets a man and they get close, almost engaged but her political views which have been radically changed since interviewing the maids pushes him to walk away. She has to decide to stay with her family, or pack up and move to New York where she has finally gotten a job.

Do the town residents figure out the book is about them? Do things change? Read this book - it's great! A lot of things I never thought about, and I couldn't begin to know what any of those women felt - but it makes you stop and think. Have we improved? The best line in the book - "We {women} aren't nearly as different as I thought we were."

(I was not paid for this review...or even asked to do it...but if you click on the amazon link I may earn a commission if you buy it) - thanks for reading!

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