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The Help by Kathryn Stocket

In 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi, Hilly Holbrook is the queen bee and if you want to be someone in this town, you make sure to stay on Hilly’s good side. Hilly’s bathroom initiative is the talk of the town. A way to protect yourself and your family by having a separate bathroom in your garage or shed for your colored help. “Hilly Holbrook’s Home Help Sanitation Initiative is a disease preventative measure.” For most of the white community, this is a brilliant idea and one that needs to be implemented immediately. For Skeeter Phelan, however, this is a breaking point between her and her best friend.

Skeeter joins forces with Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson and many other maids to publish a book about what it’s really like to work for the white families of Jackson. Things take a turn for the worse once the book is published though. Hilly begins to figure out that though the characters have aliases and the town is fake, the stories are true and are about families in Jackson. As Hilly pieces together the stories and the maids they belong to, she lets the families they work for know and tells them to fire their help. Only one thing saves the town from being under Hilly’s thumb completely; Minny’s chapter with a secret that leaves Hilly running for the hills, telling people left and right that the book is not about Jackson.

Kathryn Stockett’s first novel and New York Times bestseller, The Help, is a tale of three women who would forever alter Jackson in their attempt to blur the line between blacks and whites. Stockett does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of “subtle” Southern racism with vicious characters such as Hilly Holbrook and events like hate crimes against the colored community. The way she writes makes you feel like you are the characters and it’s you going against a community for equal rights.

When I read this book, I found myself growing more enraged at the white population of Jackson. I cried when characters revealed intimate details about themselves and cheered as they dethroned Hilly. Though this was her first novel, Stockett hit a home run and was able to deprive many readers of sleep as they stayed up by the light of the moon to finish one last chapter. There was a reason it made the bestsellers list and an even larger reason it was adapted into a movie. I highly recommend The Help and suggest you don’t delay on your way to the book store.

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Elizabeth-of-rohanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 17, 2012 at 12:53 am:
Good review but it tells to much of the plot!
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