The Help

     Author:  Kathryn Stockett

     ISBN:  0399155341

    Pages:  451

    Level:  Adult

    This is an excellent novel that gives us a glimpse into the lives of “the help”, the black women working in Mississippi for white families.  It focuses on a young white woman, Skeeter, who returns home to the South from college.  She is determined to become a writer and begins by writing a cleaning column for a local newspaper.  She enlists the assistance of one of her friend’s “help” and a relationship develops between them.  In Skeeter’s attempt to reach her goals, she decides to write a collection of interviews from various black maids and tries to encourage other maids to share their experiences with her as well.  As the story unfolds, we are privy to the life experiences of the “help”, as well as those of the families they work for.  The bigotry and social rules that were prevalent in the 1960’s are exposed and presented in a way that can’t help but touch the reader.  This story is heartwarming and heart wrenching, and I highly recommend this book.  This is an excellent follow up after reading The Book of Negroes.

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