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The Help: A Novel by Kathryn Stockett


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Is anyone else reading or planning to read her debut novel? I finished it last night at 1am and am still mulling over it.

It's a novel set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, just as the civil rights movement is gaining momentum. The novel is told from the first person points of view of three different characters. Miss Skeeter who has returned home after graduating from Ole Miss with a journalism degree. She lives w/ her parents on a cotton farm and her mother's goal is to marry her off to the right Southern gentleman and live a life befitting of a genteel Southern woman--a future Skeeter dreads and one her mother is afraid her tall, frizzy haired daughter will never have.

Aibileen is an older maid who has raised seventeen of Jackson's children. She's fighting her own heartbreak over the death of her only son. A writer in the evenings, she's writes her prayers and has gained a reputation as a woman whose prayers have power.

Minny is her best friend, another maid who has had trouble keeping a job because she can't keep her opinions to herself and a black maid who talks back to her white employer isn't tolerated. But since the Terrible Awful she can't find a job anywhere and she desperately needs the money.

What brings these three together is a radical, dangerous idea. To write a book, where the domestic help anonymously tells what it is like to work for white families and the relationships they have with the white women they work for. In the segregated South in which they live, it's a huge risk.

The book also delves into the complicated social structure of white society. Hillary "Hilly" Holbrook runs the town. Crossing her or not meeting her standards will brand you an outcast in Jackson society, guaranteeing a friendless existence as Celia Foote and Skeeter find out.

The Help examines the relationships between white women in a society tightly controlled by unspoken rules, the friendships between black women in a time of heightened racial tensions, and the complicated relationships that exist between the maids and the women they work for.

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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  • 5 months later...

FWIW, My wife's book club just selected this title.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I read it and liked it. IIRC, Minny was my favorite narrator. Skeeter was a good soul, but annoyingly naive sometimes.

The women's lives literally, and I do mean literally, depend on what's in her bag, and she WALKS AWAY AND FORGETS IT. I wanted to shake the stuffing out of her for that!

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I read it and liked it. IIRC, Minny was my favorite narrator. Skeeter was a good soul, but annoyingly naive sometimes.

Loved Minnie. I think a large part of Skeeter's being naive was the world she grew up in was so different from those of the domestics that a lot of what they dealt with just never occurred to her b/c she had no frame of reference.

But the certain action of Skeeter's you referred to certainly increased the tension in the story. 8O :lol:

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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