The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Enter a vanished world: Jackson Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver… There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell…

For some reason when I bought this book I didn’t think I would enjoy it that much. Maybe I thought it would just be another To Kill a Mockingbird. Been there, done that. I was wrong. There are so many amazing things about this book. As someone born a fair amount of time after 1960s America ended, this book detailed experiences of the South I knew pretty little about. I could feel the tenseness of the characters and the fear of what speaking up at the time meant. When I studied To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, my English teacher argued the somewhat unpopular opinion that the book being written by a white author with a white ‘hero’, while still talking about racism and segregation, only cemented further the white man being the one with morals. I’m sure Kathryn Stockett must have felt an element of that when she wrote The Help. I don’t believe that was the message in this book at all though. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny were all portrayed as being incredibly brave for what they achieved. And Skeeter would never have had the power to make a difference without the stories from those black maids. I definitely think this book is worth a read for everyone, if only to remind us about the things worth standing up for.

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