The Help

The Help

Summary:

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. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

As many people have observed, this book is so much more than its synopsis provides.  This was a book that everyone (online and in person), regardless of rating (one star or five), agreed you’ll pick it up and begrudge any interruption that will keep you from finishing it in one sitting.

The book takes place in the 60’s in the south where the civil rights movement is just starting to get its legs.  The reason I think this book is important is because it made the civil rights movement more accessible to people.  It’s a story that makes you want to care.  Perhaps I’m being cynical, but people need heroes to inspire their causes.  Though most people agree civil rights are important, they don’t always relate to them in a modern setting.  This book transports you into other people’s shoes.  If forces you to care about the characters, laughing, crying and fighting with them at every moment.

Is it the best book to teach you about civil rights?  No, but I think it will get people interested in reading more about them.  The story tells about real issues, real emotions, but leaves you hopeful for improvements in the future.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Everyone!  This is just one of those books that I think would be valuable for everyone to give a shot.