Title: The Help
Author: Kathryne Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This book exposes a part of history many don’t read about in history books, the Deep South during the 1960’s. Skeeter, a rich privileged young woman, decides to write a book of interviews of African American maids in her small town of Jackson, Mississippi. This is how she meets Aibileen. Aibileen is the maid of one of Skeeter’s friends, and decides to let Skeeter interview her. Aibileen has been a maid for many years and has seen and done it all. She never thought twice about the way African Americans were treated, being brought up thinking that’s just the way it was. Minny, Aibileen’s friend, also agrees to being interviewed. The interviews are full of horrible stories about the way the maids have been treated, but also, surprisingly touching stories about the bond between a maid, the children she practically raises, and her employer. As different as they are, these three women come together to write a book that will put them all at risk and change their lives forever. So why are they doing it? Their whole lives they have been taught that African Americans are not equal to whites. They have always lived within the lines that defined the South during the 60’s. And sometimes, lines are meant to be crossed.
An interesting recurring theme in this book was that you first had to believe that you are just as good as everybody else, before anyone else will. I think we forget this sometimes. We expect others to treat us as equals, but yet we don’t view ourselves as equal.
This book was timeless and very thought provoking. It makes you realize just how hard it was to be a poor, uneducated African American living in the South at the time. I’d recommend it to anyone who is up for a tearful read that will leave you smiling, and ready to take on anything.
So I ask you, what would do if you were in Skeeter’s shoes? Would you write a book that would help many people, but also expose your family and friends? It’s a hard question, with an even harder answer.
--Madison, 8th grade
Good review, Madison. I've heard great things about this book and am hoping to get to read it soon!