Monday, June 15, 2009

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

From the author's website: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

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.

Great book. The dust jacket has that "pitch perfect" blurb on it and it is so true. Each woman has her own voice and they each feel absolutely authentic. Much is written in dialect but it feels right not forced. There are moments of laugh out loud humor, when Skeeter interviews for and is awarded a job writing a housekeeping column for the local paper, her mother who agonizes over Skeeter's single girl status says, "Oh the irony of it." which maybe won't make you chuckle as much as me - until you read the book. There's real strength in these women, the help, that they
put themselves aside and did what they needed to survive. I wonder how much of that still has to happen today - the vestiges of racism that I, as a white woman, don't even notice?

This book is my "H" for the A-Z Reading Challenge! Click on the logo to see my progress.

and this one too...
This is on my list for the Spring Reading Thing 2009. Click on the logo to see the rest of my list.


Beth F said...

I have read such strong reviews for this book. I really should look into it.

bermudaonion said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book, especially since I lived in Mississippi in the early 60s.