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 ad 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, she 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.
I honestly don’t think that I cold even begin to say one bad thing about this book. Personally I grew up not really “seeing” color if that makes any sense. When I describe a person I don’t say “that black lady” or “that Hispanic man”, I might say that they are tall or short or something like that but the color of a persons skin is never the first thing that comes to my mind. So I cannot begin to imagine what it was like to grow up in the heart of the civil rights movement…until I read this book.
Stockett does an amazing job of painting the picture for you of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi. There is deep history in the black/white relationship and this story does an exceptional job showing the complexity of the spectrum. Not only was there hate, abuse and mistrust but the love, attachment and dependence as well.
This book is Stockett’s masterpiece, from the very first page the voice of the characters took such a vivid form and became more real with each word. Aibileen and Minny were my favorites, but I think that I loved Minny a little more mostly because of her strong willed character. Their relationship felt so strong and real through their words. You could feel how much Minny and Aibileen wanted and needed things to change and you could really get the feel of how difficult their lives were.
The message of this story is so extraordinary that alone should make you want to go out and run (not walk!) to your nearest book store and pick up this book! Equality. Freedom. Racism. Respect. Once you’ve read the book, go watch the movie. Seriously breath-taking and so worth it.
And never forget…
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important”.