Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Help

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book so much, I don't even know where to start. I was hooked from page one. I couldn't read enough, fast enough - and yet I didn't want it to end. The story is told by three characters, all in first person. Normally I don't like books with multiple point of views because there is overlapping repetition, but the author managed to avoid this completely. The voices were very clear and well sectioned. The book covers quite a bit of time, about two years, in the early 60's. I found the references to historical fact added so much to the story - the fashion, JFK's and Medgar Evers assassinations, Martin Luther King Jr., the establishment of zip codes, color TV's, TV remotes, there were so many little details in this book to place the reader inside the story. The characters were wonderful, I felt for them - I was connected. I laughed and cried through this book. This book opened up my eyes to how far we've come in half a century. I didn't even realize there were rules for blacks, other than just the segregation. I didn't know that many people believed blacks were dirty and diseased and stupid. There's so much more I want to say, but I don't want to spoil it. You HAVE to read this book.

Synopsis: Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women: 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.

Recommended Reading:
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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