The Help – By Kathryn Stockett

Historical Fiction

The Help, set in the early 1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi, recounts the lives of three women: Skeeter Phelan, an aspiring writer, Aibileen, a caring, loving maid who is raising her 17th white child, and Minny, an angry, outspoken maid who is fired for giving her employer a piece of her mind. Skeeter decides to write a highly controversial book that accounts the lives of maids in Jackson, describing their female bosses, for better or for worse. Aibileen is the first of the maids to agree to tell her story to Skeeter. She helps her in the making of the book, and is the driving force in encouraging the other maids to write about their lives. Minny is stubborn at first, but later also agrees to tell Skeeter her story for the book, ‘Help’.

This book is about segregation in the South, which is a subject of much discussion. I found Stockett’s interpretation of this topic interesting, relatable and easy to read, however I also realize that she has naively softened the facts, making the story a dramatized fairy tale, almost, which doesn’t really respect what actually happened. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that to a certain extent this must be done to make it a readable, appealing book. Although I relate to Skeeter as an aspiring writer and book fanatic, Minny and Aibileen were portrayed in more depth and were stronger characters than Skeeter. I loved how The Help is written in dated, Southern slang.

This book is good for people who are interested in segregation in the South, but want to learn about it in an easy and accessible way. It’s good for people who like a fairly slow-paced book that is written in different points of views. This book is not good for people who want to learn about this subject in a strictly factual, historical way. I would recommend The Help for teens and older.

My Ratings (out of 10 As):

Plot/Story: AAAAA

Writing: AAAAAA

Pace: Slow