I read MANY good reviews of this novel from Entertainment Weekly to fellow reader’s blogs and beyond; but the concept of the novel kept me wary. The Help is a story written by a white woman about African American maids in the 1960’s in Mississippi . . .something seemed sacrilegious about this entire concept.
I was therefore surprised when I started to read this book and found that I couldn’t put it down. Aibileen is a black maid for a lower middle class white family. Her employer is a 22-year woman named Elizabeth who has two good friends; Hilly and Skeeter. Hilly wants to keep “coloreds” in their place, while Skeeter has other ideas. Aibileen’s sassy friend Minny has troubles keeping a job, although she is a great cook (I want to taste her Carmel cake!). She finds a job with a woman who has a secret of her own. Skeeter decides to write a book about domestics in the South with Aibileen and Minny’s help. This puts them all at great risk.
I can’t believe such a world existed . . . and that it was only 40 years ago!! How could people ever have been treated this way?
While this book was a disturbing look at racism, it was also a great story of a group of very strong women with very interesting self-stories. I really enjoyed this book and think it would perhaps make a good future book club pick!