Published last year, “The Help” is my book club’s latest selection, and I loved every page of it! It’s an uplifting, engrossing novel told from the perspective of three characters living in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60s. Through the eyes of these three characters, readers get an authentic, layered look at the tensions during the Civil Rights movement in the South.
How the author captured the voices of the different characters so perfectly is beyond me. First, there’s Skeeter, the 22-yr-old white Ole Miss graduate who returns home only to feel like an outsider to her “cake-eating, Tab-drinking, cigarette-smoking” Junior League friends. Also, she’s still single, a fact she hears about endlessly from her mom. Then there’s Aibeleen, the middle-aged maid who has spent her life tending to white families. Lastly, there is Minny, the brutally honest maid whose mouth constantly gets her fired from her jobs.
This book really took me a on a journey through the battles African Americans waged in order to live in the South during these turbulent times; specifically, the plight of the black maids trusted to care for the white children but not trusted to polish their silver. At times heart-wrenching and at others inspirational, you’ll feel you’re right there in Mississippi at a crucial period in our nation’s history.
Though the book highlights much mistreatment among the help and their white families, this novel is about survival and the will of humans to survive against all odds.
I’ll refrain from giving any other details away, but I highly recommend this book for a touching, vivid look at the world which existed not so long ago.