Stockett, Kathryn. The Help. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2009.
Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter live in Mississippi in the 1960s. This is a story of how their lives intertwined and how the "help" helped to create a change in this racist community. Skeeter wants to write more than anything, but her job at the local newspaper is not what she had in mind, until this housekeeping tips column leads to an expose on Southern dynamics.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I felt like I was transported back in time to a place that I did not know. The writer does a great job creating believable characters and situations. I did not like how the book ended, though, because I wanted to know what happened to these women next.
I felt that Skeeter was so courageous, even though she was also very naive about her world. After I finished the book, I read some book club discussion questions. The first question asked, "Who is your favorite character?" I thought my answer would be Skeeter because she was brave. However, after I thought a bit more, Aibileen became my answer. She was so matter of fact and true. I could just picture how she loved the babies and grew weary of how she was forced to live.
I enjoyed the time nuances that Stockett included (the introduction of the zip code p. 249) as well as the literary references (Catcher in the Rye p. 70 and To Kill a Mockingbird p. 351).
As Skeeter's knowledge grew, the depth of her character grew. She was able to dispel the cloud of rosiness about her life as she truly began to understand what the reality of living in Mississippi was.