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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.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #22 in Books
- Published on: 2009-02-10
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 1.39" h x 6.43" w x 9.17" l, 1.52 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 464 pages
- ISBN13: 9780399155345
- Condition: New
- Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine
In writing about such a troubled time in American history, Southern-born Stockett takes a big risk, one that paid off enormously. Critics praised Stockett's skillful depiction of the ironies and hypocrisies that defined an era, without resorting to depressing or controversial clich√©s. Rather, Stockett focuses on the fascinating and complex relationships between vastly different members of a household. Additionally, reviewers loved (and loathed) Stockett's three-dimensional characters—and cheered and hissed their favorites to the end. Several critics questioned Stockett's decision to use a heavy dialect solely for the black characters. Overall, however, The Help is a compassionate, original story, as well as an excellent choice for book groups.
“The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a story that made me weep as I rejoiced for each of humanity’s small but steady triumphs over hate and fear. I will never forget this wonderful book.”
—Dorothea Benton Frank
“A magical novel. Heartbreaking and oh so true, the voices of these characters, their lives and struggles will stay with you long after you reluctantly come to the end.”
—Robert Hicks, New York Times– bestselling author of The Widow of the South
“I love The Help. Kathryn Stockett has given us glorious characters and a powerful, truth-filled story. Abilene, Minny and Skeeter, show that people from this troubled time came together despite their differences and that ordinary women can be heroic.”
—Jill Conner Browne, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Sweet Potato Queens series and resident of Jackson, MS
“Set in the rural South of the 1960's, THE HELP is a startling, resonant portrait of the intertwined lives of women on opposite sides of the racial divide. Stockett's many gifts – a keen eye for character, a wicked sense of humor, the perfect timing of a natural born storyteller – shine as she evokes a time and place when black women were expected to help raise white babies, and yet could not use the same bathroom as their employers. Her characters, both white and black, are so fully fleshed they practically breathe – no stock villains or pious heroines here. I'm becoming an evangelist for The Help. Don't miss this wise and astonishing debut.”
–Joshilyn Jackson, Bestselling author of Gods in Alabama
“A wonderful book. A compelling and comically poignant tale about three women, and a time and a place that is in many ways very much still with us.”
—Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize– winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart
“Lush, original, and poignant, Kathryn Stockett has written a wondrous novel. You will be swept away as they work, play, and love during a time when possibilities for women were few but their dreams of the future were limitless. A glorious read.”
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of the Big Stone Gap series and Lucia, Lucia
“Full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.”
— PW starred review
“This heartbreaking story is a stunning debut from a gifted talent.”
— Atlanta Journal
“It's graceful and real, a compulsively readable story of three women who watch the Mississippi ground shifting beneath their feet as the words of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Dylan pervade their genteel town. When folks at your book club wonder what to read next month, go on and pitch this wholly satisfying novel with confidence. A-“
— Entertainment Weekly
"[A] wise, poignant novel...You'll catch yourself cheering out loud."
—People Magazine (3.5 out of 4 stars)
"[A] story with heart and hope...A good old fashioned novel"
—New York Daily News
"This book was sitting on my desk and everyone kept coming in and when they’d see it they’d gush about it, “I love this book”. So I brought it home and it didn’t disappoint. It’s very much a book like you would imagine Oprah would pick for her book club. Set in the early sixties, it’s about female friendship and race relations and it’s heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.”
—John Searles, The Today Show
The Best Book in Years! An Instant Classic!
The Help is about a young white woman in the early 1960s in Mississippi who becomes interested in the plight of the black ladies' maids that every family has working for them. She writes their stories about mistreatment, abuse and heartbreaks of working in white families' homes, all just before the Civil Rights revolution. That is the story in a nutshell - but it is so much more than just stories.
This is the best book I have read in years! I can't recommend it enough! It is fabulous and I think they will make a movie out of it. I would compare it to the writings of Carson McCullers, Harper Lee, Truman Capote and even Margaret Mitchell. The story grabs you and doesn't let you go. You can smell the melted tar on the Mississippi roads, the toil in the cotton fields, the grits burning on the stove. The theme is the indomitable will of human beings to survive against all odds - because of the color of their skin. It is a heart-wrenching account and you will never fondly remember the times of the Jim Crow laws (if you ever did). The pure, down and out bitchery of the white ladies who become dissatisfied with their maids and proceed to ruin their lives is portrayed vividly. The desperation of the maids' circumstances is truly touching. I have laughed and cried my way through this book and plan to re-read it. I highly recommend this book because it is going to be talked about as the best book of the year.
A New Classic for America
A new classic has been born. Kathryn Sockett's "The Help" will live in hearts and minds, be taught in schools, be cherished by readers. The three women who form its core, idealistic Skeeter, loving Aibileen, and sarcastic, sassy Minny, narrate their chapters each in a voice that is distinctive as Minny's caramel cake no one else in Jackson, Mississippi, can duplicate.
These stories of the black maids working for white women in the state of Mississippi of the 60s have an insiders' view of child-rearing, Junior League benefits, town gossip, and race relations.
Hilly is the town's white Queen Bee with an antebellum attitude towards race. She hopes to lead her minions into the latter part of the century with the "enlightened" view of making sure every home in Jackson, Mississippi, has a separate toilet for the help. Her crusade is, she says, based on clear hygienic criteria, which will save both blacks and whites from heinous diseases.
Despite the fact that the maids prepare the food, care for the children, and clean every part of every home, privy to every secret, many of the white women look at their black maids as an alien race. There are more enlightened views, especially those of Skeeter, a white, single woman with a college degree, who aspires to more than earning her MRS. Skeeter begins collecting the maids' stories. And the maids themselves find the issue of race humiliating, infuriating, life-controlling. Race sows bitter seeds in the dignity of women who feel they have no choices except to follow their mamas into the white women's kitchens and laundries. Aibilene says, "I just want things to be better for the kids." Their hopes lie in education and improvement, change someday for their children.
There is real danger for the maids sharing their stories as well as danger for Skeeter herself. The death of Medgar Evers touches the women deeply, making them question their work and a decision to forge ahead, hoping their book can be published anonymously and yet not recognized by the very white women they know to the last deviled egg and crack in a dining room table.
The relationships between the maids and the white children, the maids and some kind employers, including "white trash" Cecilia Foot, illuminate the strange history of the South. The love Aibileen shows for Mae Mobley matches the love Skeeter felt as a white child from her maid-nanny Constantine.
There is never a dull moment in this long book. It is compulsively readable while teaching strong truths about the way the United States evolved from a shameful undercurrent of persistent racism to the hopes and dreams of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Ultimately, will the next generations children learn (and be taught) that skin color is nothing more than a wrapping for the person who lives within?
a treasure of a book
I was lucky enough to come across an advanced reader copy of this book. Set in Mississippi during the civil rights movement, the story is narrated by the three principal characters...Minny and Aibileen, two black maids, and Miss Skeeter, a young, white woman newly graduated from college. The characters are wonderfully developed, as are the historical background and setting. As each character took her turn at narrating, she became my favorite character until the next one took over again.I was torn between not being able to put the book down and not wanting it to end.