Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pink Julep Reads: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett and I must say, this is a phenominal book! Told from the point of view of 3 women in Jackson, Mississippi during the 60's, this book chronicles the relationships between white women and their black maids. Minny and Aibileen are maids and Skeeter is a white young lady. They all have very interesting points of view on situations and culture of the 1960's in America.

Some of my favorite parts of the book are framed by historical references like the assassination of President Kennedy, the invention of the remote control and Martin Luther King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. One of my favorite quotes occurs when Skeeter goes shopping and sees Pucci dresses for the first time and says, "This Emilio Pucci character must stick his finger in a socket every morning."

Minny and Aibileen are best friends and live very hard lives, not only cleaning houses and raising the children of white families, but also coming home tired at night to care for their own homes and families. And after the children are grown, they are often faced with the babies they've loved and cared for over the years becoming racists and treating them just as badly as their parents. Skeeter, whose real name is Eugenia Phelan, is a gangly, unkempt university graduate who embarrassingly hasn't yet married, but is a member of the Junior League and the bridge club. Unlike her friends however, Skeeter doesn't want to be just a wife and mother who serves on the annual benefit committee. She wants to be a writer. And she embarks on a project that if successful will get her the life she wants while bringing her into an interesting interaction with Minny and Aibileen.

If you read this book, and I strongly recommend that you do, be sure to read the afterward by the author in which she talks about her upbringing in Jackson, Mississippi and her strong relationship with her family's black maid in the 60's named Demetrie. She wrote this book because of that relationship and to be honest, I cried while reading it. She has long thought of how Demetrie would answer some questions she never thought to ask her about life in the South as a black woman. Well, I think Demetrie would be proud of her writing this book. I find myself wondering right now how exciting it would be for anyone who had a job as 'the help' during those times to see how far we've come with civil rights and that a black man is now the President of the United States. Children of all races and religions attend school together. Segregation is over. What an achievement! And with issues like a mosque near Ground Zero, the Arizona Immigration Law and Proposition 8 in the news today, I find this book to be very timely.

The Help is witty, funny, touching and original. It has truly made me think and it's a story that will stick with me for a long time! If you've read it already, what did you think?

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  1. I LOVED the book! I didn't want it to end. Might re-read!

  2. This was a fantastic book! I read it a few months ago, and I still think about it. I am so excited to see the movie when it comes out, I just hope it does the book justice.

  3. I also didn't want this book to end. Definitely one of my favorites!

  4. i too loved this book! I couldnt put it down!

  5. I loved this book! It was so good and I wish there were more like it. I think between these book and movie reviews you post, I'm gonna just get you to ship me your get them spot on!

  6. There are no words to describe this book. It's amazing



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