Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

It's 1962 and Skeeter is home in Jackson, Mississippi after graduating from college. She wants to be a writer and dreams of living in New York City, but her mother only wants to see her daughter happily married.
Skeeter lands a job with the local newspaper, writing a homemaking advice column. But she knows nothing about homemaking and turns to Aibileen, the maid of a close friend for help. In the course of time, Skeeter becomes more aware of the inequalities between the races in 1960s Jackson. Learning from  Aibileen, Skeeter decides to write a book about black women working as maids for the local white community. She conducts interviews, on the sly, with maids and gathers materials for her book, which she hopes will be her entree to a career in NYC. And the maids get to air their grievances. But since whites of that time and place are very intolerant, it all has to be done covertly, in order to protect the maids from violent retribution.
The book tells the story from the prospective of Skeeter, Aibilene and Minny, a maid who is more outspoken than is good for her. It follows Skeeter's rather pathetic love life and her mother's descent into chronic illness. As Skeeter's sympathies towards the civil rights struggle become more apparent, she finds herself cutoff from her closest friends, who do not understand or welcome the black struggle for equality.

This was an interesting book to read. It's always fun to read about people whose lives are so different from one's own. This book is well worth reading, but it is also entertaining, often amusing, and just a great read.

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