Andrea Mcdermott's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rate this book
Clear rating

F 50x66
's review
Apr 30, 2012

Andrea McDermott
Mrs. Davis
30 April 2012
The Help book review
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” These are the words of Aibileen Clark, a black servant in the early 1960’s. She is talking to her seven-tenth white child. This is a time when the only job black women could get was being a maid. Aibileen works for Mrs. Leefolt, a woman who is more concerned with pleasing her friends than she in with her own daughter. These black women work tirelessly. There is one woman who works especially hard. She is exhausted. Her eyes are burning, and she has worked her fingers to the bone. But not from scrubbing toilets, and not from polishing silver. No way. She is Miss Skeeter Phelan, a white lady. And the white women of The Help do not do these demanding jobs. Matter of fact, they don’t much at all. But Skeeter is different. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help captured my attention with the friendships and hardships that the book takes you through.
The Help takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s. The book starts in 1962 and it takes you through a two year journey to 1964. During this time a woman usually works as a maid. Their daughters drop out of school to get an early start on bringing in income. Stockett does a great job of describing the people of Jackson so that you can picture how the town works. You can easily figure out who the big names of the town are. You can relate to the places you know. In Jackson you have the towns people, who are mostly white, the country folk, and the side of town where all of the African-Americans live. No white person comes to that side of town. Well almost.
The Help centers on race and friendship. Being black in Jackson gives you a lesser of an ability to use your rights. It also gives you more of a vulnerability to be embarrassed and treated wrongly by others. Aibileen works all day and still has trouble making ends meet. But Stockett takes the issue of race and turns it into a heartfelt friendship. She shows that no matter what color you are, whites and blacks can come together and create something inspiring and extraordinary, along with making an unusual friendship.
Each character in this book has their own personality. Aibileen is raising her seven-tenth white child. You would think that she would be through with children. Especially after her own son Treelore died. But no, Aibileen keeps pushing through despite the pain she is feeling. She works for Mrs. Leefolt, one of the pristine bridge club members. Aibileen has worked hard all of her life. The child she is raising now, Mae Mobley, feels neglected and loves Aibileen with all her heart. Mae Mobley holds a special place in her heart too. Aibileen’s best friend is Minny. She is short, chubby and a sass-mouth. She loses job after job due to her habit of back taking. Minny works for Mrs. Walters for a short period. That will end soon though. Mrs. Hilly is Mrs. Walters daughter, she is pleasantly mean and will not take no for an answer. Mrs. Hilly, Mrs. Leefolt, and Miss. Skeeter are all best friends. But Miss Skeeter is different. She is by far the most lovable and inspirational characters. Sketter has just come home from college, she is determined to become a major writer, but all her mother wants is for her to find a husband. Skeeter is also very curious to find out what exactly happened to her old maid Constantine. Skeeter is tall, clumsy, and has uncontrollable hair bus she doesn’t care. She just wants to do something that means something. She starts thinking and Skeeter takes a huge risk with the help of a few others and she just may reach her goal.
The Help starts with Skeeter, Mrs. Leefolt, and Mrs. Hilly as best friends. They are part of the bridge club. Which is a society of elite women who do benefits for “The starving children of Africa.” Skeeter begins to ask around about her old maid, Aibileen just happens to be one of her victims. It is very uncomfortable for Aibileen as she does know what happened, but she does not say. Skeeter begins to become aware of the circumstances in which the help are treated. Skeeter decides that she wants to write a book from the “helps” point of view. She wants to hear and then write about everything that the maids encounter. The good and the bad. Aibileen thinks she is insane at first when Skeeter asks her to help. After awhile though, Aibileen gets thinking and she decides she will help with the book. Everybody’s name will be changed of course. Aibileen and Skeeter start to find more and more maids to help. Each one of them tells their stories. Minny, who has been fired from Mrs. Walters for some “terrible, awful” reasons, agrees to tell her stories also. Minny is also going through some crazy adventures with her new boss, Mrs. Celia. Mrs. Celia is a little off and not too aware of her surroundings. When the book is published Mrs. Hilly thinks she knows who is in it because Minny put the “terrible, awful” in the book for protection. Mrs. Hilly wouldn’t tell a soul about the “terrible, awful” so to keep the citizens of Jackson away from the idea that it takes place there, she tells them that there is no way it is Jackson. The book is charming and it takes you through a journey that will make you never want to stop reading.
Kathryn Stockett’s The Help captured my attention with the friendships and hardships that the book takes you through. This book has multiple stories of success and hardships of those who are just trying to stay alive. It is a story that will have you rooting for the underdogs. Its indirect focus on friendship gives you a small sense of appreciation to the people in the world like Skeeter Phelan. It is very inspiring and it has you cheering for those in the book who need it.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Help.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.