The Help ... by Kathryn Stockett

Monday, August 22, 2011 AnnMarie Brown 2 Comments



I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett last night and needless to say I ended the book in tears. I definitely need to see the movie now that it is out. Maybe tomorrow night.

Over all it is a well written book that was easy to read and definitely kept me interested through the whole book. While the book is a work of fiction as I read the pages it was as if I was warped into the lives of Miss Skeeter, Minny and Abileen.

The Help is an engaging novel about life in 1962, in Jackson, Mississippi. The story centers around the three main characters I mentioned above, Miss Skeeter a white 24 year old recent college grad living with her parents, scheming to be a writer and the only non-married woman among her friends. Abileen is an older black woman with no living family working for Skeeter’s childhood friend Elizabeth Leefolt. Minny is Abileen’s best friend and former housekeeper to the town’s most popular and feared Hilly Holbrook who has made it impossible for Minny to get a job after a mysterious incident.

One of the things that most captivated me about this book was its voice. Written in first person from the views of Abileen, Minny, and Miss Skeeter, the characters come to life and their fears and dreams given breath. Although separated by a society that judged one’s worth by the color of their skin, they find their way to each other. And despite the risk — a risk even of death or mutilation — they take a step of faith and decide to write a book about what it’s like being a black maid in the south. A book full of made-up names but based completely on the truth as told by the maids in town.

I really liked that throughout the book there was always positive feeling despite the seriousness of the topics covered. The characters face their share of struggles and heartache. But amidst the struggles, there is light. Abileen telling stories to the little white girl in her care, trying to teach her that the color of skin doesn’t make the person inside. Minny teaching a housewife how to cook. An entire congregation of black southerners standing up and declaring that Miss Skeeter — a white woman — was a true friend. And she, in turn, finding disgust in the segregation laws she has grown up surrounded by.

This is a book that I am happy I have in my collection and definitely one in which I would tell others to read as well.

Now off to see the movie!