Friday, February 5, 2010
Book: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
The year is 1962, and in Jackson, Mississippi segregation is still the way of life. Skeeter, a 22 year old aspiring writer, is a single woman, part of the Jackson Junior League, and friends with the same girls she grew up with. Her best friends have black maids to take care of their children and household chores, just as Skeeter's family had a maid, Constantine, who took care of her. Skeeter forms an unlikely alliance with one of her friend's maids, Aibileen, a black woman who has been taking care of other people's children for a large portion of her life. Aibileen's best friend, Minny, another maid in Jackson, soon joins the alliance and becomes part of a project that can put them all at risk. Told through three different points of view, The Help explores the relationships formed between these women and how it affects all the others in their lives.
I absolutely adored this book. I couldn't get enough. This is the kind of book that you don't want to end because of the relationships you, as a reader, have formed with the characters. I had very high expectations of this book since I had not read a single bad thing about it. Without hestitation, I can assure you that it delivered. The three distinct voices of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny really helped to give the different perspectives of how decisions and choices made affected each woman as an individual. The relationships between the characters were also so well developed. This book explored what it meant to be a daughter, mother, friend, ally, and enemy.
The setting of Jackson, Mississippi also played an important role in the telling of this story. While reading this book I felt as if I were transported to this place and this time in history. I was not at all surprised to learn that Kathryn Stockett had grown up in this place during this time.
The Help would be a perfect choice for any book club, offering endless topics of discussion from segregation to mother/daughter relationships, to taking risks. Just the idea and theme of "help" and what it really means can be discussed at length. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys great literature!
My Rating: 5/5 Stars