The Help by Kathryn Stockett

(No Series)

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

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, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's 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.

 “Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

I think The Help, as a novel and film, will be remembered for a long time. This is suitable since the focus of the story itself is about remembering and acknowledging truths. It is 100% a character-focused story. It’s hard not to feel for all who told the story through their viewpoints (Skeeter, Mabelline, Millie), but also for the secondary characters where, while we didn’t get inside their heads, the writer was convincing enough to make them real. 
Generally I dislike such extreme viewpoint swapping, it’s a reading pet peeve of mine. It worked here, though, and instead of skipping over a viewpoint section – been prone to do that many times with other books – I couldn’t wait for each story segment as each rocked. The amazing bonds of the three women and how those bonds stretched out to the rest of the community will inspire just about anyone. Even though it’s an introspective tale, things happen, and when action is taking a background stage, you never notice. It’s not a bloated drama, but a good one.

The issue is one that is close to the hearts, minds, and experiences of many. Even if you were not born or around during that time, and I wasn’t, then it’s easy to latch on to what is happening.  If I had to say anything bad about it, I'd say that some of it may lack a little realism. It almost crept over the melodramatic lines too, but I applaud the author for always reeling the story back over that line so it didn't fall in those treacherous waters.

The pacing isn't slow, but it's drama style and is telling a story that isn't action-packed, that suspenseful, or plot juicy, so because of this the pace won't run you down. It is still easy to latch on to and hold on as you keep wondering what will happen to the characters its easy to like.

I read this going in after the hype of both flick and book, and came out realizing The Help is well-known and popular for a reason.

   Book Quotes:
“Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.” 

“I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the State of Mississippi banned them, they must be good.”  

“That's the way prayer do. It's like electricity, it keeps things going.”

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