Thursday, March 5, 2015

REVIEW: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Published: February 10, 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group, G.P. Putnam's Son,  Amy Einhorn Books


Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step...

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, raising her seventeenth white child. She's always taken orders quietly but lately it leaves her with a bitterness she can non longer bite back. Her friend Minny has certainly never held her tonuge, or held on to a job for very long, but now she's working for a newcomer with secrets that leave her speechless. And white socialite Skeeter has just returned from college with ambition and a degree, but to her mother's lament, no husband. Normally Skeeter would find solace in Constantine, the beloved maid who raised her, but Constantine has inexplicably disappeared.

Together, these different women join to work on a project that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town-to write, in secret, a tell-all book about what it's really like to work as a black maid in the white homes of the South. Despite the terrible risks they will have to take, these three women unite with one intention: hope for a better day.

I was unable to find an official trailer for the book but found this one for the movie.


The Help was absolutely, breathtakingly, amazing. This is normally not the type of book I read, I'm mostly into the paranormal genre, but my sister bought me the book so I thought I would give it a go. I'm going to be honest here, I've been living under a rock, I had never heard of the book before she gave it to me and I had no idea there was a movie made. I sat on the edge of my seat and didn't want to put it down.

I can see where this could be a controversial book and make people uncomfortable but I enjoyed the story. It did make me uncomfortable and angered me because I can't comprehend how anyone can treat another person the way that the African American community in this book and this time in history were treated. I was raised with the belief and understanding that all people are the same no matter what race, religion, gender or sexual orientation they are, and it embarrasses me to know that people were and still are that narrow minded. 

This story takes place during the civil rights movement in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi and follows the lives of three very different women, Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson are both African American women who work as maids and Eugenia ''Skeeter'' Phelan is a privileged 22 year old white girl. You get the POV from all three main characters and watch as all three of them struggle with very different and similar situations.  

Aibileen has been working for Elizabeth Leefolt from the moment that her daughter Mae Mobley was two weeks old. Aibileen has raised sixteen different white kids before Mae Mobley and has treated and loved everyone of them as if they were her own. On top of being a nanny for Mae Mobley she must also act as a maid for Miss Leefolt.

Minny Jackson is a wonderful cook and is a maid who was taught by her mother how to work for white women when she was fourteen years old. She has bounced from job to job because she has a hard time keeping her mouth shut and not sassing the women she works for. She kind of has it worse than the others because of her house full of children and the issues she must deal with at home.

Skeeter has just gotten back from graduating college at Ole Miss University and is struggling to fit in with her old friends Hilly Holbrook and Elizabeth Leefolt who have gotten married and have children. Her mother is constantly on her about getting a husband, the way she dresses and is always trying to straighten Skeeter's unruly hair. She wants to be a journalist and is beginning to see a different way of viewing things and finds a way to possibly make a difference in all the segregation, degradation and discrimination. 

These three women plus other women risk their jobs, friends, injury, and possible death to try and get their stories out there and educate others about what it's like to be an African American maid in Mississippi. Not only do they want to share their hardships but also the good stuff. Some of the women have had bad experiences with the people the work for but others luck out and get really nice people, who really care for them, to work for.

Although The Help is a fictional story, it addresses some very real problems that the United States has had to endure. This book will make you stop and think and take a look at your own values and morals. Are you the type of person who blindly follows what others do and believe just to fit in or the type of person who bullies others to get and think what you want, or are you the type of person who tries to be something or someone your not. Maybe your the type of person who realizes the way you've always been taught isn't right and so you decide to do something about it or maybe your the type of person who knows that what you do or think is wrong but are too scared to change for fear of loosing your friends and/or status.

Kathryn Stockett's The Help will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. There is so much hope, love, hate, anger, sadness and happiness that occurs throughout the book. Some characters you'll absolutely love and others you will despise. I would go into more detail about the book but I don't want to spoil anything. This is one of those books that you just have to read for yourself, and I do recommend that everyone read it. 

(c) 2015 Andrea Hatfield All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave me comments, I love reading them. I try to respond to all comments within the same day, but it may take me a day to respond. I do comment back and enjoy the conversations.