Gail's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Aug 11, 09

bookshelves: modern-fiction
Read in August, 2009

It is the 1960s in the time of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It is Jackson, Mississippi where girls went to Ole Miss to find a husband and settle into middle class domesticity, the Junior League, and days of children and supervising 'the help,' the colored folk who served the white middle class with more devotion than they deserved and often with many emotions of anger, despair, and more.

This wonderful, luminouw, riveting book tells the story of The Help from the perspective of three women: Abilene, a fifty four year old black woman serving as the maid to one of the Junior League ladies, Elizabeth. Abilene loves her baby, a homely little girl unloved by her mother and adored by her maid. The story is told by Skeeter, or Eugenia, an Ole Miss graduate who came home without a ring on her finger. Not traditionally beautiful, Skeeter longs to be a writer and observes her world with a sharp eye. She's described as a lady who talks to The Help. And the story is told by Minny, a magnificent cook whose mouth gets her into deep trouble.

This is a world where the president of the Junior League will raise money for the Poor Starving Children in Africa and will also create an initiative to put bathrooms in garages and sheds for the help so the whites don't have to share a toilet with their domestic staff. This is a world where one white woman can ruin the lives of black families with words, lies, and innuendos. This is a world where black folk live in fear and the whites expect them to show gratitude for every slight, insult, and act of psychological terror.

This is also a loving book where you love the flawed women, for it is about the world of women, with all their fears and anguish.

Skeeter and Abilene form a connection and later a friendship as they embark on a project so dangerous that they must meet in secret. Skeeter doesn't understand at first the powerful act she is committing. Against the backdrop of Medger Evers, Martin Luther King, and the dreams of people, these three women speak powerfully, compellingly and lovingingly of the world they live in and the world they change for the better.

This is a very fine book, well written. It touches the heart and the soul. You love these women....

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