Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Way We Were

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Summary: 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.

Review: An enjoyable tale of three women in the south that shows have far we have come and how far we have still to go.

One thought that really struck me when I was reading this book was how some people from that time period would have their heads explode at the fact that an African-American is president of the United States. Anyways…I don’t read too much fiction that takes place in the 20th century. I am much more partial to fiction written in earlier centuries, especially the 16th and earlier. If I want to read about the 20th century, I prefer non-fiction.

Despite being fiction, The Help has its roots in reality and does showcase an appalling way of life. Considering the state of things 50 or so years ago, it’s amazing how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. Some people have mentioned that racism gets whitewashed in this book and I can certainly see that. I was glad that Skeeter’s book got published and that some progress was made in the town, but I found it hard to believe that one book, although true, would have as much of an effect as it does in the book. Perhaps I am too cynical. Despite all that, I did enjoy The Help.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that are interested in fiction that takes place in the 20th century or anyone interested in civil rights. 

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