Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Publisher: Penguin
Price: $37.95

It might only be the end of August, but I think I have already found my best read for 2009; a beautiful novel called The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

1960s America is a bleak place if you are Black - and no place is bleaker than Jackson, Mississippi. A Black maid can cook and clean, know every intimate detail of the household and raise white the boss' children but can't use the same bathroom, sit at the same lunch counter or shop at the same stores.

And born out of this oppression is an unlikely friendship between three extraordinary women.

Aibileen - a smart, dignified and perceptive maid raising her 17th white child, Minny: smart mouthed and sassy but boy can she cook and Skeeter, an educated white woman full of hopes and ideals and love for the maid who raised her who has disappeared and no one will tell her why.

Despite the gulf between them, these three women come together to work on a plan that places all their lives in grave danger but will change their town and the small minded attitudes it perpetuates, forever.

I'm a sucker for stories about Southern America. I love the language, the imagery, the oh-so-different attitudes and opinions - and Kathryn Stockett captures these all beautifully as she tells the story in three unique voices. Each voice is strong and true without a single "off note" hit in this softly building but utterly gripping novel.

Needless to say, I loved "The Help." I couldn't wait to find out how it ended (and a warning, you might need a tissue or two along the way) but at the same time, I didn't want it to end at all. I wanted to stay for as long as possible in the world Stockett created with all its love and food, bigotry and pain.

I can't more highly recommend this book. Just buy it and I promise you won't be disappointed.

No comments: