August 27, 2019 by TinyNavajo
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
*Published January 28, 2009*
I had previously read and listened to this book, but it had been a few years, so when I finished my previous audiobook, I decided to listen to this one again. It’s apparently the first time I had recorded my reading of it on Goodreads, so it’s a good thing I listened to it.
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal 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, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind 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 her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, 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. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
The narrators for this book perfectly capture the voices of each character and bring these three different women to life. Skeeter Phelan, a young woman who dreams of writing has come home from college in 1962 Mississippi; Aibileen, a maid watching over a small child whose mother looks at her and sees only disappointment; Minny, a maid who cannot watch her mouth around her white employers. These three women are pulled together by what’s going on in Mississippi in a way neither one knew was going to happen.
As Skeeter works to write the story of the black maids working for white women in Jackson, Mississippi, she learns that there is much more going on in the background of her life than she ever realized before. Not only does she not know what happened to the woman who raised her, but no one will tell her. But as she works through her stories of the maid of Jackson, she realizes that what she believes and what she thinks about the world is very different from her friends and family.
When you read books that take place in a politically uneasy time, what are your thoughts? Do you think these books speak some truth, or do they gloss over things? Comment below and let me know!