The Help

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Click for availability and more information The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
To those who have not yet read Kathryn Stockett's hugely popular The Help, this reviewer is pleased to report that it is as great a reading experience as so many have reported since it publication in 2009. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, the main character is Skeeter Phelan, a recent graduate of Old Miss. Dreaming of developing a writing career after her college graduation, Skeeter is frustrated by the lack of opportunities for doing that as she moves back to her parents' home after receiving her college degree. Her sole outlet for writing becomes creating a home-maintenance advice column for the local newspaper. Not giving up on her writing dream, Skeeter begins to plot the story she wants to write. It concerns using the lives of assorted maids who work for white families in Jackson to write a work of fiction. She first convinces the indomitable Aibileen Clark to cooperate with her by having Aibileen agree to tell Skeeter all about her life as a black woman being the maid for years in white homes in Jackson. After overcoming much reluctance by many other maids to speak with her, Skeeter finally gains their confidence and she begins to collect the life stories of other Jackson maids.

The Help is so well plotted and written that the reader is totally transported to Jackson, Mississippi during the days of uneasy racial relations between white and black. Being a black woman serving as a maid in a white house was full of twists and turns - many heart breaking and deeply humiliating for those women. Stockett so vividly and humanely brings her wonderful characters to unforgettable life. One in particular, Minny Jackson is a sharp-tongued observer of the life she and Aibileen must endure and survive. In all, The Help is a terrifically entertaining story and highly recommended. If a book club has not yet chosen this title, it is would be a great reading selection.

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This page contains a single entry published on March 27, 2012 7:06 PM.

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