Between the Covers's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Dec 17, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction, literary-fiction
Read in September, 2010

Set in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, this book takes on the challenging issue of what it was like to be black - and white - in this time. The story mainly follows two women: Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a young white woman who aspires to be a writer, and Aibileen, a black maid for a white family.

Skeeter, having loved her family's maid, sees Aibileen and the other maids as equals rather than a separate race. Sparked by a controversy over whether whites and blacks can use the same bathroom, as well as her desire to write, Skeeter eventually decides she wants to interview maids and turn the interviews into a book.

The idea proves to be difficult, as tensions between the races are high and everything must be done in secret. But eventually, the maids can tell their stories, just as Skeeter is finding the story of her own life.

I listened to this book an audiobook, and in this case, I think it brought a new dimension to all the characters. Being able to hear all of the emotions made everything that much more real and poignant. Even though it was hard to identify with these characters, not having been a maid in Jackson, there were still other parts of the book that hit home, such as the relationship between Skeeter and her mother, as well as parts of Skeeter's college life and young adulthood.

With firsthand experience in the subject, Kathryn Stockett has written a touching and thought-provoking book. I cared for all the characters and am only disappointed that I don't know how the rest of their lives turned out.
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