Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

5 of 5 stars

Book Details:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

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. 

Book Review:

The Help, while celebrated as Historical fiction and an award-winning book – a lot of people take to be too-serious or intimidating or just plain boring – felt like a warm hug - the warm friendships, young love, genial humor & moments of intense heartache, i felt it all throughout the book. I read this book for the first time three years ago, I finished it within a span of 3 days and then I watched the film just to savor it. And recently, when I chose to give audio books a chance, I picked up The Help again. And, yes, I immensely enjoyed the words narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer and Cassandra Campbell. It was slower than reading but the lilt of Southern accents and the soothing voices of the narrators made this experience very enjoyable.

The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights period. The tale is narrated by a couple of characters whose paths cross in those turbulent times and what follows, with a background of historic events of the time But I do not believe that this story is just about racism, or pertains to just that time period. I’d like to think that this book tells you to believe for yourselves that you deserve better and that you shouldn’t let the world tell you what is better for you. It’s also a story about personal growth, fighting for your dreams, not settling for anything less and speaking up for what you think is right, even when the world tries to drown out your voice and especially then.

The main characters of the story are Aibileen Clark & Minny Jackson, 2 coloured women in Jackson and Skeeter Phelan, a young, white lady who dreams for more in life than Jackson has to offer. I wanted to pick a favorite among them, but I couldn’t. Aibileen is a seasoned nanny who raised 17 white babies in her time, along with the cooking and cleaning and all the other household work. She was kind, wise and down-to-earth. Minny is a firecracker, she makes you laugh even through most of the tough times that she goes through. Skeeter is an educated 23-year-old white woman who is single and working and dreams big. Together, they fight for their dreams, battle their fears and in the end, find their own freedom.

This review written by - Ashwati 

A person who loves to not just read books, but bring forth the characters to life inside her head; then she loves them, hates them, studies them like specimens, and analyses their redeeming qualities and flaws, all the while wishing she were a part of the story and its universe.
PS: she also loves long sentences.