I couldn’t wait to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and I have to say I was very impressed! A novel has to be really good and honest for me to read it. I read mostly non-fiction because I really think truth is often stranger than fiction, and I enjoy real stories about real people. The Help, however, was a beautiful story told exceptionally well. The story is being made into a movie starring Emma Stone as the main character Skeeter, and she seems absolutely perfect for the role!
The Help is about Jackson, Mississippi during the worst of the racial struggles in the South. The story is about a Southern college graduate, Skeeter, living on a plantation, who wants to write a book based on the perspective of the African American women who are maids in Jackson. The maids in Jackson in the 1960s were the housekeepers, and nannies, at times best friends and confidants, at other times practically slaves.The perspective is told from shifting perspectives of maids and Skeeter, including Abileen, the head maid of Skeeter’s best friend who first agrees to tell her story to Skeeter, and the perspective of Abileen’s sassy friend Minny, the other brave maid who first agrees to tell her tale, much to her own dismay.
The book is full of twists and turns, nothing that happens in The Help can be predicted! I couldn’t stop turning the page, but I will say towards the end it did begin to drag a little bit. I wanted a little bit more at the end, it stopped seemingly abruptly for all of the drama that had dragged on for so long.
I really really enjoyed reading it, personally, alth0ugh reactions about the book from other people have been controversial. The book was written by Kathryn Stockett, a white woman from Jackson who was raised by a maid. The perspective of the maid is told in a dialect, dropping ‘g’s and other linguistic quirks, however, Stockett has gotten a lot of flack for the white women not having the same linguistic drawl. The offense is accurate, the Southern white women in the book seem to have perfect english, while all of the black maids have a clear dialect of improper English. Other people are just in arms that it is the perspective of a minority told by a majority, which I understand. However, I think the message was so important, I congratulate Stockett for trying to write the book that no one else had the balls to write. If it is starting a global conversation about the situation of race in Jackson and what really happened in the houses of white Southern women everywhere, then the book has done it’s job.