Friday, December 11, 2015

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.

I typically stay away from Best Sellers, because from past experience they tend to cross lines that I like just where they are thank you very much. I only read this after I asked people who had read it and know my preferences and decided to try it out. I was warned there was language, and boy howdy there is quite a lot of language. No ‘F’ words, but plenty of the usual in the profanity department. There was also a brief mention of rape, so subtle you could almost miss it. Though, I definitely did not. There is spousal abuse, though it is only portrayed with the next day bruises.
After reading this book I understood why it has been such a phenomenon. It deals with racial discrimination, the sexism of the 60s, and what it is to be different in a place that eats unique people alive. Told from 3 perspectives, Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter, it’s a story about courage and change. It’s beautifully written, and easy to understand. It’s a book that I found myself both impressed with and sad about. I always get uneasy when reading historical fiction that makes me wonder about humanity. I always hope that if I were to have lived in these sorts of times that I would’ve had the courage to stand by truth and right. This is an interesting way to look at a time in history when things were so chaotic and people really thought the world was going to end and it wouldn’t get better. It’s really about how we’re all the same in the ways that matter. We all have people that treat us badly, we all have problems, we all have insecurities. It’s a good book, and I understand why it was so highly acclaimed.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5- above average but also less than I was expecting for such a wide-read book. 

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