The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Posted on 11 February 2017
By Lauren Evans
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A book is more than just writing on a page when you end up emailing the author immediately after you’ve finished it. Kathryn Stockett’s 2 million copy bestseller, ‘The Help’, is shocking and important, retelling racial history in a nail-biting, humorous and loving way.

Published in 2009, the plot focuses on the lives of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi, within the early 1960’s. Three women have a frightening secret which unfolds as the readers are taken through their daily lives and duties, whilst under constant threat from any white person if they so much as breathe in the wrong manner.

Miss Skeeter’s writing is the main focus of the story. Skeeter is a plain-Jane appearing character with a bad habit for being sneaky. After realising how twisted Jackson is, as well as the rest of the world, she wants to change how blacks are seen as diseased and invisible. However, she may as well throw herself in jail if she wants to try messing with society’s rules.

With a typewriter, a group of head strong maids and a dangerous idea, Skeeter decides to write a book. A book that could possible turn her town, family and country against her. A book about the help.

Skeeter needs a writing partner and the beloved Aibileen is a middle-aged professional when it comes to looking after white children. She knows all the rules on how to stay in the good books of her employer: Mrs Leefolt. Through heartbreak and happiness, Aibileen has been through hell and back and yet she carries everyone else’s weight on her shoulders.

Aibileen’s best friend, Minny, is a bad-mouthed sass queen with a hidden kind heart. She has talked her way through every job as a maid, but this time she has taken it too far. With a nasty, awful action she becomes the talk of the town, and for once she needs to keeps her mouth shut.

‘The Help’ is not a typical history book. To be able to read about such a sensitive, violent subject through the witty and mysterious ways of these three women and their local enemies is so refreshing and lightly crafted. Kathryn Stockett has become an educator through ‘The Help’ and we want to learn more.