The Help (And How I Love It Almost as Much as Chocolate)5:34 PM
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.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.
You know that deeply satisfying feeling you get after you read some books? Not the gosh-I'm-so-glad-every-person-didn't-die books like Divergent and The Hunger Games. Not the I-really-like-the-main-character books or the this-setting-is-so-unique-and-different books.
The kind of book that just feels right. Like sipping hot chocolate on a cold day or breathing in fresh air after being inside all day.
That's the kind of book The Help was.
I loved the characters the best. They were so well-written and the reading of each different narrators' voices was so unique. Everything about each respective point-of-view contributed to the mental pictures I created of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. I haven't read too many voices that are as defining as these were.
Stockett also handled the issues between the black and white during the book's era very well. I could feel Aibileen's and Minny's anger and pain. I felt the white women's scorn, ignorance, or understanding depending on the women. Like To Kill a Mockingbird it dealt with issues of equality and rights, but The Help also showed that the lines between the black and white were not always clear. There was a constant guessing game going on for the black men and women who lived in the white people's world.
One of the ways Stockett's skill in writing for three different women is shown is in their anger. Aibileen was a deep, slow, consistent, unrelenting river. Minny was firecrackers. Skeeter was a bird in a cage. Even though I was hesitant about the way it was written (just like it would be spoken) at first, it became another part of the book that was irreplaceable to me.
Another thing that I liked about it was that the story followed the creation of another book, Skeeter's book. Reading about the late nights typing and the stress-inducing deadlines was fun on some points, and enlightening in others. And even though the book dealt with serious topics, I laughed (mostly in Minny's chapters). Even though it was funny, I cried.
The Help makes you feel like you're the one going through the things in the book.
Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself. (Ha ha.)