Good morning everyone. I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel, “The Help” ever since I finished it a couple of weeks back. Thankfully, I have a few moments today to do just that.
Every now and again, a book comes along that totally sweeps you away. This was one of those books. To borrow a phrase from my agent, Chip MacGregor, this was a “high concept” book.
For those who don’t know about the story, here’s a synopsis:
Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:
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.
Sounds amazing, right? Well, it is. And talk about getting into character. Stockett does such an amazing job with these three women. I felt like I knew them, like we were sitting together at a 60s dinette table, talking through their stories. My heart went out to them during the rough spells and I sang with them during the celebrations. I guess that’s the point of a great novel, after all. . .to draw you in.
For those of us who read mostly Christian fiction, there are a few things to be aware of before reading the book: it’s got a bit of language in it. I didn’t really stumble over it or anything. Just noticed it in passing. It’s relatively “clean” as far as sexual references/innuendos go. Honestly, it’s just a great book. And lots of people agree. It’s ranked #10 on amazon today, with nearly 2000 reviews. What other first time author gets that kind of press?
I think the paperback version of this book is available soon. If so, I’ll probably buy a copy. I passed my hardback to my mom. Dying to know what she thinks of it, since she lived through that time period.
That’s all, folks! Run out an pick up a copy of Kathryn’s amazing book today. You won’t be sorry!