The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, follows the journey of three distinct , ordinary women taking an extraordinary step during the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi. “Skeeter” Phelan is fresh out of college and eager to become a writer. Following the advice of a New York book editor, she takes on the challenge of writing about something that matters to her–something disturbing. Skeeter begins interviewing and collecting the stories of the black women who work for her friends and other community members. Central to the story are Aibleen (who has raised 17 white children) and her best friend, Minny, a sassy mouth-off who’s found herself unemployed more than once.
The risky undertaking produces a book that brings hope, pride, and honor to the black community and helps Skeeter to face her own fears and pursue her dreams.
I really enjoyed this book. Aside from the plot, this was a story about relationships and the complexity of humans dealing with humans. The exploration of various kinds of relationships was done very well, and Stockett did a good job giving life to the main characters in her novel. This is long book. But I found myself eager to pick it up each day to read further. I haven’t been excited about a book like that in several months, so it was very refreshing.
Alternately humorous and heartbreaking, this is an excellent debut novel. I commented to my mom how it was so great for a first novel. She pointed out that it took the author seven or eight years to craft her masterpiece. I guess there is hope yet for me!
Great characters, great voice, good story. Thumbs up!