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The Help by Kathryn Stockett is an incredibly moving story of three women working to make the voice of The Help heard at the time of the civil rights movement.
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
The Help is a book that has been my list for a while now. I haven’t even watched the movie in anticipation of reading this book.
P.S. The movie has been out for 9 years now. So that says how long it’s been on my list.
Many years later, I’ve finally read the book, and might even watch the movie!
A Summary of The Help
The book is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s around the time of the Civil Rights Movement.
The story is from the perspective of three different women, Abigail, a maid who raises the children of the families she works for; Minny Jackson, a maid who has frequently been fired for speaking her mind to the families she works for, and Skeeter, a young white woman who has just returned home after graduating and dreams of being a writer (while her peers have been married with kids at this point in their lives).
The three women are brought together with the common purpose of publishing and giving a voice to the stories of the maids who work in the houses of the white families.
The book’s chapters are written from the perspective of the three women. It takes the first few chapters to get used to the changing voices and was a bit confusing. But as you get through the book, it remains engaging and I appreciated the voices.
The little things
The book is light on the historical issues at the time. It uses them as a backdrop, but for the most part, steers away from delving deeper into the issues. However, that gives the story room to talk about the little personal issues that are prevalent in the times. The maids essentially raise the children and the bonds that are formed result in complicated relationships.
Not really Historical Fiction
As mentioned, the book focuses on the lighter side of the issues of the time. The difficult issues exist but are never brought to the forefront. The issues of segregation and the civil rights movement exist in the background. They are just under the surface but are never fully explored.
I am careful to critique this point however, as the story is vaguely inspired by the author’s own life and family.
Favorite quotes from The Help
You is kind. You is smart. You is important.Kathryn Stockett, The Help
Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.Kathryn Stockett, The Help
All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”Kathryn Stockett, The Help
For the most part, I enjoyed the book!
The humanity explored in the stories does allow you think about the relationships that are formed, and it saddens me to think that this was not such a distant past.
If you’re looking for a good fiction book, that keeps you engaged, and delivers hope – this book should definitely make the cut!
You can also find me on Goodreads!