Winner of BookBrowse's 2009 Reader Awards
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:
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, Aibileens best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobodys business, but she cant mind her tongue, so shes 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.
Two days later, I sit in my parents kitchen, waiting for dusk to fall. I give in and light another cigarette even though last night the surgeon general came on the television set and shook his finger at everybody, trying to convince us that smoking will kill us. But Mother once told me tongue kissing would turn me blind and Im starting to think its all just a big plot between the surgeon general and Mother to make sure no one ever has any fun.
At eight oclock that same night, Im stumbling down Aibileens street as discreetly as one can carrying a fifty-pound Corona typewriter. I knock softly, already dying for another cigarette to calm my nerves. Aibileen answers and I slip inside. Shes wearing the same green dress and stiff black shoes as last time.
I try to smile, like Im confident it will work this time, despite the idea she explained over the phone. Could...
The Help is a beautiful novel, and Kathryn Stockett is a natural storyteller with her finger on the pulse of the human condition. Her characters, their stories, and the complex questions they raise will linger deep in your mind long after you’re done reading.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (1185 words).
As Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny begin their project, the Civil Rights Movement is boiling to high heat. It is 1963 and President Kennedy has just spoken out in support of Civil Rights; however, the message has yet to penetrate Mississippi where Medgar Evers was just brutally murdered by segregationist whites. This example of racial violence gives Aibileen and Minny pause as they consider the repercussions of what they are doing with Skeeter, but they decide to forge ahead because things need to change.
Medgar Evers's murder resounded across the country and was seen as an example of racial injustice and violence in the Deep South. Evers had been a civil rights activist for much of his life. After fighting in World War II, he was ...
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'Though I've read countless novels, I had never read one like this ... told in a chorus of completely unexpected voices, as befits the first novel from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter' - Washington Post.
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