Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
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 seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She 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 the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know 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.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.
I simply cannot spell out for you how good this book is. I am a lover of historical fiction anyway, and this book was right up my alley.
These are characters that I will not soon forget - Abileen stole my heart in the first chapter and still has a grip on it. Minny is what every book needs...a strong character who doesn't easily show her weakness, fiercely loyal, smart to a fault, and simply amazing to have as a friend. Skeeter, the white woman who doesn't follow the society rules of the South and proves that there isn't always a dividing line between whites and blacks. She takes a leap and proves that she is more than she gives herself credit for.
This story is told through those three characters and they all are interwoven as they together write the book. There is so much raw truth to this book, so much to love and so much to hate - all at the same time, and so much to feel. As a reader, I couldn't help but feel as if I was right there experiencing the triumph and heartbreak along with them. I also appreciated that there wasn't a stereotypical happy ending for all of the characters, but they all realize that things are happening for a reason and they will have to allow the events to unfold their destinies.
It is novels such as this that make it so important for all viewpoints of history to be documented. The view of the black maid wasn't deemed important for years and years, but it is that viewpoint that really enables us to look at how life in the South was during the 1960s. And it enables us to have such a clear picture of it that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past.
Kudos to this author, who took her own experiences with her black maid as a child and turned them into this masterpiece. Just as Constantine would have been proud of Skeeter, Demetrie would have been proud of Kathryn Stockett.
I simply cannot type out all of the passages that I loved in this book - it would be much longer than the whole blog post already is, but I will say to go get the book and you will understand why this is a bestseller...