by Kathryn Stockett
Author: Kathryn Stockett
The Help is written in multiple perspectives of people whom all are widely involved with the plot of the story. It is set in the 1960s Jackson Mississippi, a decade in which racial segregation is at its highest and there were inter-related cultural and political trends around the world. 'Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted to steal the silver.'
The main protagonists are Aibileen, a middle-aged black maid who is raising her seventeenth white child; Minny, another fellow maid described as sassy and outspoken; and then you have Miss Eugenia Phelan or 'Skeeter', a fresh out of college writer, white woman who wants to find out why the maid who raised her has miraculously disappeared.
The novel is deeply poignant and powerful, honing in on the tortured lives of the black society that all have a lot more to say than simply, 'Yes ma'am'. Living in downtown, the flea-ridden homes and harsh neighbours, the Help are those who spend their entire lives working for high-status white families in order to provide for their own children only to find the children they raised become as discriminative as their parents to the people who raised them.
Mae Mobley, a white toddler, is raised by Aibileen in Miss Elizabeth's home, she learns about the unfair differences and the reason some are 'coloured' and some are 'clean'. Aibileen's best friend, Minny is abused by her alcoholic husband Leroy in front of her many children and struggles to find work because of her mouth but eventually they team up with Skeeter and other black maids to speak out their experiences working for the white upper-class families.
Miss Skeeter comes up with the idea of publishing the documents and writes her own book over the discrimination they face, but it puts all the lives of those who contribute at risk of being exposed by the KKK and Miss Hilly, a racist who is an advocate for separate bathrooms, fridges and hospitals.
In my opinion, this novel is simply outstanding and thought-provoking. Full stop. Stockett expertly writes about the antics of little Mae Mobley, creates the tension of staying hush-hush about the book and has created a vociferous, courageous must-read that will definitely be one novel to remember. It is literally bursting with humour and hope for freedom that every reader will feel touch their heart. I can assure you, this book is not all politics, it has that bit of relationships and wonders added in!
Simply extraordinary and a timeless work which is suitable for young adults+. All voices are authentic and it is crucial for everyone to understand what happened. This book conveys it perfectly. It's a must-read. You've not lived until you have read this. The last page of this sparked some tears of mine to escape. Yes. It's that brilliant.
Yasmeenah Gaffer (13)
"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."