Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi of the early 1960s, right at the brink of the civil rights movement.
Eugenia, also known as Skeeter: young college graduate, an aspiring writer.
Aibileen: A black housemaid working for a white family.
Minny: Another housemaid who's been fired more times than she can count on fingers.
Skeeter doesn't share the same negative views about the blacks as do her two friends, Elizabeth and Hilly. Growing up she got incredibly close to her housemaid, Constantine, who mysteriously disappeared. Skeeter gets a job at a local journal, where she would be writing a housekeeping column. As Skeeter has no idea about house cleaning, she turns to Aibileen for help. The two get close. Aibileen gets cautious in the beginning, realizing that they might cross the invisible line drawn between the blacks and the whites. And then no sooner than that the two are working on a "secret project."
The Help is written from the perspectives of Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. A very brief part is narrated in the third person. Everything goes slow and steady, and some things are in fact pretty much predictable. I was a bit disappointed in the end. I wanted to know what happened to Miss Skeeter, how she carried on with her life, and other people. There were a dozen or so characters I kept wondering about. But again you have to understand that wasn't the point of the book that whether Skeeter became a writer, Minny got fired or Aibileen kept working for Miss Leefolt.
This Help recommended to me by my sister and was worth the read. The setting reminded me of To Kill a Mocking Bird (which I never finished) and John Grisham's The Chamber (which I did finish). It was as slow paced a book as John Grisham's A Painted House
This book isn't all bad about the relationship between the blacks and the whites, there are some good things in it too.

My favorite character from The Help was Mister Johnny, in fact, in the book he has just a tiny role to play. I wanted to read more about him. He's the only guy character I liked.
Minny is a very funny and amusing character.
Goodreads Amazon
I skipped my graduation ceremony at Ole Miss. All my close friends had dropped out to get married and I didn't see the point in making Mama and Daddy drive three hours just to watch me walk across a stage, when what Mother really wanted was to watch me walk down the aisle.”
-- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (p. 68)

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