Book review by Alyssa L.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a bestselling historical novel about fate bringing three unlikely friends together during the 1960’s in Mississippi. The beginning of the story is narrated from the perspective of a Black maid, named Aibileen Clark. She fills her days doing chores for a White family from potty training their neglected daughter to polishing silver. Her friend Minny Jackson is also a Black maid who has never held a consistent job due to her sharp tongue, but she gets a fresh start by working for a newcomer who holds shocking secrets. Unexpected meetings between Skeeter Phelan and Aibileen change the three women’s destinies forever. Skeeter, a White graduate and aspiring author, is determined to include Aibileen and Minny in her pursuit to publish a secretive book about the daily lives of a Black maid. Regardless of the racial intolerance in Mississippi, the maids hesitantly agree to venture into this risky project that could change their lives forever or leave the women in jail cells.
The Help is a powerful and original tale that brings you on an adventure through the lives of three extraordinary women. Kathryn Stockett wrote the book The Help because of her love for her own Black maid, Demetrie. As you open the book, the theme of how love and friendships can overlook the appearances of people and overcome racial challenges is evident. Black maids are portrayed as dirty, lazy, and disease ridden creatures. Despite these distorted views, Skeeter proves that White people and Black people can get along. As a society, we could learn from this book and live in unity. This book was so intriguing that I could not stop reading until the very last word. Each word was purposeful and meaningful making it play like a movie inside my head. Although it was interesting how the author narrated the story from each of the three characters’ perspective, it made the book confusing and difficult to follow. There were also too many minor characters to remember even though they played an important role in the story. The Help has some coarse language, so I would recommend it to mature young adults, and anyone who would enjoy a novel that takes you on an emotional roller coaster along with the characters.