Wow, what a book. I am from the south, and I was 10 years old in 1963. I remember the Sears where my mother worked having a Colored and White Bathroom and a Colored and White water fountain. I remember the outside door at the theater that said colored and led to the balcony and our delight when they finally opened it up to everyone and we teenagers could sneak up there.
I was not one of the kids that had a full time maid or nanny that raised them, but I had friends that did. What this book did for me is fill in the gaps that I never knew. I saw what was going on, I heard it, but I never really understood it, and my parents were more like Skeeter, people were just people. Yes, we had a housekeeper that came once a week because my mother had to work full time. She cleaned our house, ate at our table, cooked our dinner that night and we visited her family at the holidays and took them a turkey at thanksgiving and wrapped presents at Christmas.
But I wonder now what else we did that I was not aware of. How did we treat her and others that was considered "normal" then? Were we guilty of the prejudice and segregation-ism that is portrayed in this book? I have to say probably because we were a product of our time. I can only say that I am no longer that product. Everyone should read this book. Everyone. It is so true, correct and real it could have been my town or any town in the south in 1963.
Ill be the first to admit that when an author writes in multiple voices it takes me a couple of chapters to keep everyone straight, with that being said, The Help is the exception. Katheryn Stockett clearly voices each character and smoothly transitions between them all in a way that has them portrayed more along the lines of real live people then just single dimensional characters in a book.
1962 Mississippi is no place to be, white, privileged Eugenia, more commonly known as Skeeter because of her likeness to a mosquito has recently returned home from college and much to her mothers disappointment there is no ring on her finger. Aibileen has just returned to working for a white family since the death of her own child and Minnie, the best cook in the county is quite hard pressed to find a family to work for since she has quite of habit of speaking her mind, something that a white family just wont put up with.
As each womans story is told a truer picture of the segregated south emerges. When they decide to work in unison to write a book from the black domestics perspective looking at the white families they have loved and served a whole new picture emerges. The fear of being discovered, of actual prison time becomes all to real, but its a story that has to be told. A story that in a way will free them all.
At times you will be shocked, mortified, and laughing out loud, these women will have you hearing what they have to say for a very long time.
I love love loved this book from the first page. Three points of view and a wonderfully developed story that grabs your attention immediately. It is the best thing I have read in a long time. Most books I have read lately, once I'm done and close the book the story simply evaporates, but this story was one I could not put down and it lingers fresh in my mind. I want to pick it up and read it all over again. It has many emotional turns, sometimes funny, sadness, and critical awareness.
I love Abilene, Minnie, Miss Skeeter, and I will never forget the hateful bully, Miss Hilly. Plus, many more memorable characters who sent me back to a place and time best not forgotten.
Bravo! I hope Kathryn Stockett continues to write great stories.
Stunned by how wonderful this book was. The characters are unforgettable and their stories are riveting. Incredible that this is a book written by a first time novelist. One of the best books I've read this year. I hate to part with my copy, but feel this book should definitely be shared. Can't wait for her next book. Very highly reccommend.
The is by far the most touching, best book I've read in 2009. What is it like to be a black maid in Missippi in the early 60's? In fact, what is it like to be a white lady that hires the "help" at that time. Are the feelings between you real emotions or colored by the circumstances. Which of you are influenced, even when you don't want to be, by your peers? The world of black and white are a'changing and they are going to affect each of you.
This book is emotional, funny, horribly true and I couldn't put it down. You will love and you will hate as you read this book and you might even be surprized at which emotion is aimed at which character.