THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

Here's a bit about Kathryn Stockett's THE HELP, the current review available for your book club.

Southern-born herself, Ms. Stockett reaches into the past to tell the story of three Southern women united by some things and alienated by others. Her novel,  THE HELP,  is set in the early 1960s in Jacksonville, Mississippi, where racial tensions are at an all time high following the murder of Medgar Evers. 

The story is told through the voices of these three women. First we meet Aibileen,  a regal, strong, and gentle black woman who is proud to know that she's raised seventeen white children. Her goal is to make sure that her current charge, two year old Mae Mobley Leefolt, knows that she's smart and pretty and that the color of someone's skin shouldn't make a difference.

Then we have Ms. Skeeter, twenty-two and a recent graduate of Old Miss, whose mother would prefer her to be actively searching for her MRS degree rather than pursuing a job as a writer.

Our third voice is Minnie who has worked for white women since she was fourteen and  has lost more jobs by speaking her mind to the woman she works for than she can count. But it's Minnie's strength and stubborn character that makes her stand out from the others.

At the time, there existed a sub-class that had nothing to do with race.  It was the sub-classification of women as a whole, and that's where I see the uniting strength of these women.

Ms.Skeeter wants desperately to break away from the chains that literally bind her to her family's old cotton plantation. She wants to be a writer so she takes on the "Miss Myrna" column in the local paper and depends of the kindness of her best friend's maid Aibileen to secretly guide her through the trials of removing "ring around the collar".  Skeeter is encouraged by a New York publisher to write something she cares about.

The bond that grows between Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny is more than "the help" telling her what it's like to work for white people, it's about what it's like to be trapped in your own world. And being trapped is something Skeeter knows all too well.

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