The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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Original Title: The Help

Year Published: 2010

Published by: Penguin Books

Number of Pages: 444

First Sentence: Mae Mobly was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960.”

Goodreads rating: 4/5

Plot:

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…

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book. It is on of three that I had to read for UNI and I never expected to like any of them. But I do love them all. This book is fantastic. It deals with a really important subject, the enslavement of black people and the way they have been seen as inferior by white people for many many years (and sadly enough still are in certain parts of the world). It is written from the viewpoints of two coloured maids and a priveliged white woman who has seen they way the maids are treated and want’s it to change.

Aibileen is the character who starts us off, and can probably be seen as the main main character. She is in her 50’s and raising her seventeenth white child, Mae Mobly. In the beginning she is very apprehensive about trying to change the situation for the black maids. But as several tragic things befall the black population of America, she both agrees to help Skeeter with writing a book and secretly try to show Mae Mobly that there is nothing wrong with black people. She is the books hero, and rightly so. Her bravery is what ensures that the book is written.

Minny is a very self-assured and sassy maid, who suddenly finds herself without a job. She has five children and an abusive husband. She finally finds employment with Miss Celia Foote, who turns out to have a few secrets of her own. Their relationship in this book was amazing to take part of, and is a great example of how you should treat people who work for you (or people overall), which is as human beings.

Skeeter is the white girl who grew up on a cotton-picking farm. The family is well of, and at the beginning of the book she has just returned from College. She is the one who comes up with the idea of writing the book, after seeing how badly several of the maids are treated. Skeeter does a lot of growing during the book, both from a personal point of view and a point of view of the society.

The book itself is a very good critical view of how Jackson, Mississippi and all other cities in the US (and parts of the world) treated their black maids and black people overall. It discusses human rights and several of the important events that took place in the 1960’s that involved the fight for equality for the African-American population of the US. It also shows us relationsships between women and how you can find a friend in the most unlikely place, how sometimes the society is wrong and that in order to find peace within you have to take a stand no matter how scary it might be.

Do I recommend it?

Yes I really do. It’s an amazing book with amazing characters. Stockett did a fantastic job. The movie does the book justice, so if you can’t be arsed reading the book at least watch the movie.

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