Review: The Help
Three women from totally different backgrounds come together to work on a secret project to try to create social change in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. They are:
- Skeeter, a recent graduate of Ole Miss who has returned home, wanting a career instead of a husband. Her family’s maid, Constantine, raised her and when Skeeter comes home, she’s no longer there. No one will tell her where or why she’s gone. She asks some of the maids about her and starts to see Jackson’s social system in a different light.
- Aibileen is the maid of one of Skeeter’s closest friends, Elizabeth. Aibileen has loved and raised many white children, even as she suffers a personal tragedy.
- Minny is one of Aibileen’s closest friends and she’s full of sass and spunk. She says what she thinks and it’s cost her more than one job through the years. After losing her latest job, Aibileen helps her find one with a woman who grew up poor but has married into money.
I’m sure everyone has heard of The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, especially since the movie version is coming out next month. This book has spent months on bestseller lists and for good reason – it’s fabulous! It’s told from the points of view of Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen – each character has a unique voice and style and I loved all three of them. The secondary characters in this book are fantastic, too – even the ones I didn’t like – because they’re so realistic and true to life. I think the characters are what makes this book so special. They’re portrayed so well, readers feel like they know them when they finish the book and everyone will recognize people they know.
The story of The Help is wonderful too. Set in the midst of the civil rights movement, it includes historical detail along with a wonderful story that highlights the way individuals can create social change. I found this book to be well written and I was hooked right from the beginning. My only qualm with it is that it gives readers the impression that everyone in the South had help at that time. I actually lived in Mississippi in 1962 and no one we knew had help – that was something for people with more money than we had. That little qualm didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book at all, though. If you haven’t read The Help yet, do yourself a favor and grab a copy now!
Challenge: Amy Einhorn Challenge