Friday, May 29, 2009

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

From the Book: 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. 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.

Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult; 1 edition (February 10, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399155341
ISBN-13: 978-0399155345

My Thoughts: This is my first book for the Southern Reading Challenge. It was a wonderful start. This compelling story is told by the three main characters in alternate chapters. The characters were well rounded out, I enjoyed getting to know them. The story was not only about race relations during the '60s Civil Rights Movement. It is also about relationships among women and other issues important to women: physical abuse, family, education and more. These women are very real. The snootiness of the more affluent women extended not only to the Help but to anyone they don't deem acceptable. I hated to see it end. I feel readers who didn't grow up during this time period should read it to gain perspective of life today. Hopefully there will be a sequel, I would love to see where Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minnie go.

The author's website.
The Help in the NY Times and in Entertainment Weekly.

Challenges:
Southern Reanding Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
RYOB Challenge

Civil Rights, domestic help, southern literature

4 comments:

____Maggie said...

The ending had me thinking sequel for Aibileen, for shure!!! I'm still not sure what I think about the ending. She builds up the story for an explosive situation but then...Still one of the best books read in a long while!

gautami tripathy said...

I am adding this to my TBR books!

Thanks for the great review!


SRC3:Mudbound
SRC3:A Streetcar Named Desire

Teddyree said...

Great review, this wouldn't usually be my cup of tea but from your review I must say I'm definitely interested.

stacybuckeye said...

Great review! I'm keeping in on the shortlist for my last southern reading read.