Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Help - Stockett


"Do not make the mistake of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer's permission. He does not hold it by permission - but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job; a slave cannot." ~Ayn Rand 

Set in civil-rights-era 1960's Jackson, Mississippi, Kathryn Stockett's The Help is an engaging and enlightening look at race relations. Written from the viewpoint of two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, and a young, white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan.

Skeeter, an idealistic Junior Leaguer, is hired for her first journalist job, a home-care series in the local newspaper. But with limited knowledge of such things, she is the only daughter in a privileged family, she turns to a friend's maid for help.

Aibileen, who has been caring for white people's homes and raising their children for many years, is uncomfortable with the arrangement at first. A black woman talking with a white woman is never to be taken lightly in 1960's Mississippi. Skeeter quickly realizes however that Aibileen's worth is not in their cleaning skills, but in their experiences. 

Skeeter develops an idea to write a book.  A look at the life of Jackson's "help" and the way they are treated by the town's "leaders", many of whom count themselves among Skeeters friends.  With the help of Aibileen, Minny and their peers Skeeter hopes to shed some light on the truth about Jackson.

Despite the danger to all involved, which is evident in the killings of black leaders, the book evolves and the stories are shared when the book is eventually published. The town is rocked and the lives of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter are changed forever. But so, too, might the town be.

This book is a wonderful and touching look at American history, in a fictional sense, and should be shared with all!

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family. 
Fyrefly's Book Blog


Gossip_Grl said...

I haven't read the book or seen the movie. A friend told me that the book was better than the movie, so may have to see if they have it at the Library.