Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Skeeter Phelan, made her home in Jacksonville, Mississippi after graduating college, she was prepared to begin a career as a writer. Skeeter acquires a part-time position at the local paper as a household advice columnist, and when she contacts an editor in New York about a possible job, the editor encourages her to write a book. This is during the `60s, the time of the Civil Rights movement, and Skeeter, whose black nanny mysteriously disappeared, decides to write about the black women who take care of white households and raise white children. This is of course very dangerous; blacks are beaten and killed for voicing their opinions and Skeeter knows the people she interviews are risking their lives. But beginning with Abileen and Abileen’s best friend Minnie, each of whom has their own contemptuous stories to relive, Skeeter eventually gathers enough interviews for her book. Skeeter was already ostracized because she had shown compassion for the blacks and is forced to keep this book a secret, especially from her best friend Hilly, who does not hold the same beliefs concerning segregation that Skeeter does.

This book, although imparting the intolerances of whites against blacks in the deep South, is, in the end, an uplifting novel about bravery and strength and the extent people will go to see that the truth is told. The description is excellent, from the portrayal of Aibileen, who raised 17 white children, to Minnie, who cannot control her mouth yet submissively accepts her husband's beatings, to Hilly, a disillusioned woman who looks upon blacks as pieces in a power game. We watch Skeeter grow from a discomfited young woman that was subjected to continuing constant criticism to a positive person ready to fight for what she believes in and commence on a new path. This book was enthralling from beginning to end.

4 Stars !!

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