The Help

I mentioned that I did not read as much last year as I usually do. However, I did read several books (probably about 6 or 8, instead of my normal 15-20). One of the books I read was The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. It’s easily the best book I read in 2010. It’s easily the best book I’ve read in a few years!

The Help’s plot centers around 3 women: Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962 in Mississippi and her mother will not be happy until Skeeter is married. But Skeeter is determined to be a journalist. She wants to write. And, she wants to be beautiful. But throughout the course of taking action, she finds that she is beautiful–especially on the inside. And her inside beauty manifests itself in ways that her friends are not familiar with.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, telling her day in and day out: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”, knowing that this little girl will never hear these words from her own mother. And Aibileen loves to write. Every night she writes out her prayers for an hour, sometimes two.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she has trouble minding her tongue so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But this may just be a blessing in disguise–for both Minny and her new boss. However, her new boss has secrets of her own.

These three women come together–even though they’re seemingly as different as can be–for a project that will put them all at risk. Skeeter risks her friendships, her reputation, and her future, while Aibileen and Minny risk their jobs and their lives. But they do it because the lines that define their lives and their town are suffocating each one of them, and the possibilities for change and crossing those lines are too great.

Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women–mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends–view one another. The Help is a deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor and hope. I absolutely LOVED this book, and cannot wait to see the movie… I so hope it translates well!