Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I am a historic fiction buff! I love to read books that take me back to another place and time, to not only share in their story but to learn a little while I am there about history. I think if my History classes in High School would have assigned some historical fiction books I would have learned  A LOT more then!
The Help is set in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 when there was definate lines between whites and blacks. Where the white families had a black maid to help them clean, cook, and care for their children. Where the women were into raising money for poor black children in Africa, getting their husbands elected to Senate, and keeping up appearances of wealth and power.

There was one woman who stood apart in her heart, Eugenia.. nicknamed Skeeter. Unmarried, college educated, Mama pleasing, thoughtful.. Skeeter.
Skeeter wanted to write, wanted to write more than housecleaning articles for the local newspaper. She came up with an idea to write a book from the perspective of the black women as a maid to white families. The publisher was skeptical it would sell, with such unrest and rioting down in the south. She told Skeeter she would need 9 maids to interview. This book takes us through Skeeters determination, to show the 'other side' of the story. To go against social norms and present the boundaries that were evident, but brushed under the table.

The book is told in 3 characters, through Skeeter, and 2 maids, Aibileene and Minny. We meet many of their family, friends and get to know the characters well through Ms. Stockett's character development.

I love how Ms. Stockett brings out the good and the bad. It isn't a story to bash whites or blacks. It isn't a story to make it seem like one is better than another. It is a fiction account of what the households were like down in the south during that time.

I have read several books that take place during the civil rights movement, some of them are very detailed, and hard to read. Others tend to fluff over what truly took place. This book has a great balance with nothing too violent, and not fluffed over.

1 comment: