I’m sure many of you have already read The Help or at least have seen the movie. But you know me – I’m behind the curve. Well, not usually – my reading list is just so long!
This weekend, I wrapped up The Help – easily one of the best books I’ve read. Granted, the ending was lackluster – but I hear it’s much better in the film, so I’m definitely going to check it out. I read the book from start to finish – over 500 pages – in less than a week. I told you it was good!
In a nutshell, the book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960’s. Civil Rights began to emerge as a prominent topic around the country, and one woman (Skeeter), dared to challenge the status quo by associating with “the help” – aka African American maids/nannies. She begins to realize just how much the racist and downright evil comments her friends make bother her, and how her dreams are bigger than the close-minded atmosphere of Jackson at the time. After graduating with a journalism degree, she applies for a position at a publishing house in NYC for which she is extremely under-qualified. The editor responds to her, congratulating her for having guts, and encourages her to keep writing – she even offers to review her work. After coming up with the idea of a book that exposes what it’s like to be an African American woman who works for and raises the children of a white woman in the south, Skeeter submits her idea to Mrs. Stein (the publisher), who agrees to review the manuscript if complete before the New Year. The rest of the book chronicles the lives of Skeeter and two prominent maids in Jackson – and the struggles of getting a black woman to speak to a white woman about racial inequality in the south.
I’m sure from the movie previews you can guess what happens, but the book is such a great read that I have to recommend it. If you haven’t read The Help, wait no longer!
Additionally, I thought it would be cool to note that this is the author’s first novel. EVER. She worked in publishing in NYC, but this is her first book. How impressive!