Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Help * Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Mississippi 1962 Eugenia "Skeeter" doesn't want to be like every other white woman in Mississippi. She doesn't want to find a husband, settle down and have children at her age of twenty-two. She wants to be a journalist and excel in her dreams and ambitions, but finding the right things to write about let alone find a job is more difficult than it seems. Especially with her over controlling mother, who wishes her to join the crowd and be like every other woman. 

Though finding the right thing to write about, let alone finding a job is harder than she thinks. So when she grabs a job working as an editor for a cleaning column in the daily magazine, things start to look up for Skeeter. Although, she knows nothing about cleaning at all, and the only people who do know, asking them about it would be breaking many rules of the law. 

Aibileen Clarke, a middle aged black maid has worked for seventeen families and raised eighteen children, one of them being her own and only child. But when something goes drastically wrong in the past, she has to learn to get on with it. Now she works for Miss Leefolt and her husband, she tends and cares for their baby girl, Mae Mobley. 

Aibileen, finds it difficult to understand how Miss Leefolt cannot lover her daughter and see it as a struggle to spend time with her, let alone learn to love her. So little Mae Mobley clings to Aibileen like of she was her real mummy, but that will never be true.

Then there's her best friend Minny Jackson. Now, Minny isn't one for keeping her mouth shut, she tries hard to keep it locked, but can't help with something comes out of it. And working for Miss Hilly Holbrook, everyone should learn to keep their mouth shut and do what she tells you to do. But not Minny. 

Hilly has it in for Minny, ruining her life at every point possible and she won't stop until her whole family is destroyed and her friends too. So when Minny can't stand no more and does the unthinkable towards Miss Hilly, things soon start to escalate much quicker than she thought. 

Though Eugenia has a plan up her sleeve, a very risky plan indeed but it may just work and possibly change things for the better. Soon everyone is talking in secret, all the black maids around the town Jackson and there deciding to finally help a white woman, the white woman named Eugenia and her book that she wishes to be published and to help people see how everyone is being treated, a book about The Help itself. 

With some people not liking this idea such as Minny, Aibileen will also have to help Skeeter plan on how to get their stories shared and how to get Minny in on this to help them. And most of all, to help cover their tracks so no one finds anything about what there doing. 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is the first novel that the author has written. I must say despite all the critics I have seen and read against this book, I think it is great! I understand how some people my find this offencive, which I also read that the author did base this on someone, which I can understand towards the person who she supposedly wrote the book about how it would be offencive if that person asked her not to and give her a different name. But alas! Stockett didn't and I can understand the persons upset towards the book. 

Though comments from people who have read it and taken away from it that it is a completely racist book, I personally think that it is daft. The book is portraying how Jackson, Mississippi was in the 1960's which was around those times, racist towards the African society. I see this book as a reminder of what it was like in those times, not that the book is racist now. 

I personally think if people read the book and think it's terrible because it's racist, then those people are not wanting to admit to themselves how white people treated black people back then. And that they are not wanting to admit to themselves how their past generations treated them. Things have changed now a lot since then which I think is bloody wonderful! There was no reason at all in those times for people to be treated differently because of the colour of their skin, there just wasn't. It was narrow minded. 

But I think the book was great and I couldn't put it down, I found the relationship with Aibileen and Mae Mobley beautiful and I honestly cried at the end because it was just so sad. I found Hilly Holbrook's character disgusting on how she treated her friends, family and especially black people. Just to the fact that there we're people like that back then and sadly that there are still some people like that in today's society. Her character made me cringe. 

I loved Skeeter's character and I just loved how she didn't want to be like anyone else, do what everyone else was doing and to follow her dreams. I really admired that.

All in all, to try to keep it short and sweet! (I promise to keep the next review short, but I wanted to get my opinion across) I thought this book was a great read and I would happily read it again and again, I'm glad I read the book first instead of watching the film first too! I would recommend this book to anyone as it's a wonderful and moving read. 

I will give this book 10 out of 10!

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