Tuesday, May 10, 2011

PBG Book Club: The Help

The Help by Katheryn Stockett might now be one of my top 5 favourite books.  This book was soooooo good I couldn’t put it down.  One of my favourite books of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird and this book reminded me of that story in so many ways.  The storyline as well as the feel of the book is what really stuck with me.
The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962.  A young white woman, nicknamed Skeeter,  has just returned home from college with dreams of becoming a writer.  As she tries to find her voice as a writer she starts to realize that there is an injustice in her hometown, an all over the country that needs to be addressed.  Skeeter comes to realize that the stories of the local black women who work tirelessly as maids and nannies to the affluent white families need to be told.
Young Skeeter develops a relationship with Aibileen, her best friend’s maid and Aibileen’s best friend Minnie.  The three of them work together to tell their own stories as well and the stories of many of the local maids.  There are stories of love and affection along with stories of segregation and racism.    These stories are collected in a book that is bound to raise eyebrows and cause serious controversy if anyone finds out who wrote it or who it is about.
I could not put this book down.  The characters were so interesting and deep.  Young Skeeter is trying so hard to find her voice, and to do something meaningful and important with her life.  Aibileen is smart women with so much love for the children that she cares for that you can’t help but fall in love with her.  Minnie and a grumpy and harsh women but you can sense that deep down she wants to do the right thing and her heart overflows with love for the people in her life she truly cares for.  The three of them together are a force to be reckoned with in Jackson. Mississippi.
This story is full of different emotions.  It was poignant, funny and dramatic.  I also think this is an important book and an important topic.  While times have certainly changes since 1962 there are still injustices in the world and people who are not treated with respect.  And, it is important that someone is willing to speak for the marginalized people who can’t always stand up for themselves.
If you only read one book this summer you should read The Help.

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