I recently won The Help from Madame Bookworm and could not wait to read it. In fact I literally ripped open the envelope, pulled out the book, and started reading. I’d heard so many great things about this book and the movie previews look really good, so I was excited to read it. And this book did not disappoint.
The Help is about 3 women from Jackson, Mississippi, who join together to do something completely daring, unheard of, and illegal: write a book about what it is really like to be a black woman working for white people in 1962. In Mississippi. If you’ve taken an American History class you should have an idea of why this is such a major undertaking. The women, Skeeter – a white recent college grad who had grudgingly returned home and who dreams of being a writer, Minny – a maid known for her sass – which is not a good quality in a maid, and Aibileen – also a maid who has been thinking a lot about her life following the death of her son.
Together these women convince other maids in the town to tell stories of what they’ve seen while on the job and Skeeter, armed with a lucky break of a contact in New York, works on putting the stories together and sending them off to the big city. However once the book is published the trio goes from worrying about the book being published to worrying about what will happen once the women they’ve written about read the book.
The Help tells the stories of these three women and of those they encounter in their lives – both the other maids and Skeeter’s childhood friends who employ them. Throughout the book the women begin to view their lives in different ways and begin to think about the way things are and how they would like them to be – both on a personal level and in the greater scheme of Civil Rights and human interaction.
I thought this book did a great job of getting you to think about what these women were going through and what was going on with the Civil Righters movement without ever feeling as though you were being preached at. I really enjoyed how historical events (such as JFK’s assignation) were mentioned in the book – they helped to keep you aware of where you were in time and gave you an idea of what was going on in the world around these characters.
I thought all the characters were very well developed and incredibly interesting. Even the characters who were less important to the plot were very well thought out. I grew incredibly attached to these characters and was so sad when the book was finished. I really wanted the book to keep going so I could see what happened to the characters.
I definitely recommend this book. It is well thought out, has great characters, and is incredibly well written. I cannot wait to see the movie as I’ve heard it is a great adaptation of the book. Overall I think this book is definitely one you should read.