The Help transports its readers back to 1960s Mississippi and introduces three inspiring, strong and intelligent women. Two black maids, Aibileen and Minnie, and a young white woman, Skeeter. The three become unlikely friends as their lives unfold and intertwine on the page.
Sometimes it was a very hard read. We're told about how a young black man was beaten so viciously that he lost his sight. His only crime was that he accidentally used a white man's bathroom. It's hard to stomach and to think that these acts of violence and hatred were a normal part of society.
However, it's not all about the mistreatment and oppression of black people, there was some very touching stories about friendship, loyalty and standing up for what you believe in. Aibileen is an incredible nanny and becomes close to each white child she takes care of, trying to teach them self-love and kindness towards others. Minnie is sassy and suffers no fools but underneath her hard exterior there is a kind and gentle person who would do absolutely anything for someone she cares about.
Skeeter helps them to put their stories into words. They write a book together about their experiences as maids and hope that it someday might get published with the intent that Mississippi will then start to change.
Kathryn Stockett did an incredible job bringing these bold characters to life. We're given the perspective of each of the women through the book and even without being told, it was clear who was narrating as they each had a distinctive voice and thought pattern.
In the epilogue I learned that Kathryn grew up with a black maid herself, one she was very close to. I started to draw similarities between her real life and the book. This made the story a lot more touching for me. I loved it and found myself experiencing a mix of emotions towards the end!
Have you read The Help? What did you think?