The Help is told from the eyes of three women, two African-American maids and one white girl just home from college, who form an unlikely friendship in 1960's Mississippi. Skeeter comes home from college with aspirations of being a writer, but she soon finds out that women aren't considered for the serious writing jobs. She accepts a position writing a housekeeping column, but she knows nothing about housekeeping. She seeks advice from Aibileen, the maid of her friend. Add the sassy mouthed Minny to the mix and these three women begin putting together a collaboration of stories, both good and bad, from the maids of Jackson, Mississippi.
While The Help is a fast and entertaining read, it covers the issues of racism, integration, and feminism, making it heavy and thought provoking as well. I found it very interesting to view life through the eyes of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. These three characters add three different perspectives to a time where it was scary for them to be friends let alone writing such a controversial book together. The characters come alive within the pages making it easy to disappear into their lives as you read.
There were a few things that brought the book from a five to a four. The violent, naked man was completely unnecessary. Telling you about him is not a spoiler, as he doesn't offer anything to the story. When he appeared, I thought he would add comic relief, but he didn't. In my opinion, he had no purpose. Also, I would liked to have felt more from the ending. I was so absorbed into the lives of these women throughout the book, and I lost that in the ending.
Overall, the book was wonderful. It is a story that inspires hope. Through the happy and sad times, the women never lose hope for a better future.
To learn more about this book and the author, visit Kathryn Stockett's website.