Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review "The Help"

The book club at the Pearl Library is reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. While I'm not in the book club, I'd heard about the book and decided to read it. I loved it. The characters are so real that after reading the book I felt like I'd actually peeked into their lives. The book is set in Jackson, MS, in 1963, and is the story of several white women and their colored maids, and the laws--both written and unwritten--that govern their lives. "The Help" is not primarily a "Civil Rights Story", although the Civil Rights Movement is a part of the story, but rather a story told through the eyes of 3 women--a young, white college graduate, trying to make her way in a man's world--a black maid, raising her seventeenth white child--and another black maid, who is the best cook in town, but can't keep a job because of her sassy mouth. These women, and their friends and families, allow us to walk beside them for a year, and learn from them, and wonder how we'd have acted had we lived in Jackson, MS at that time. I guess there may be some who read the book knowing exactly how they acted in Jackson in 1963, but I was just a child living in a northern state, so all I can do is ponder.

From the back of the book:

"Stocketts characters, both black and white, are so fully fleshed they practically breathe."

"Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter show that people from this troubld time came together despite their differences and that ordinary women can be heroic."

". . . a story that made me weep as I rejoiced for each of humanity's small but steady triumphs over hate and fear."

I hated to come to the end of this book. I wanted to keep reading, to find out what happened in each of the lives of the characters. I hope this author will write another book soon.

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