The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Incerpt from inside cover: "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 and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeeth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. Sh 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 sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost to yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to now 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."
Whew! That was a mighty long book summary. So, I saw the movie, The Help, before I read the book, and it intrigued me enough to want to read it. And I'm so glad I did! Most books are better than movies, but there was so much more depth and personality to the book and the characters in it than in the movie.The book is from all three women's perspectives (Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny), which I really enjoyed. It added so much to the story, especially in giving each of their perspectives and motivations.
The content is also just very unique and interesting to me. I haven't read any other stories that dealt with black maids and white people uniting, and the story kept my attention throughout its entirety. Mrs. Stockett also put real historical events in the novel, which brought me even more into the tale. I laughed out loud and cried in this story; the author did an excellent job of making the characters real. They felt like a family to me, and I was sad to leave them at the end. I give this book a 4 and will definitely return to this story because it's so rich and so many different kinds of people are involved. There is some cussing, which is fine, but the author probably could have taken some of it out while still keeping some for the effect. But I have no other critiques of this book; it was very well written.
What I learned: Obviously what it was like to be black and white (as much as possible from a white author) in the 1960s in the South. I also learned how much the black maids truly impacted the white children they raised and how important the job of a mother is, as well as many other things.
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