I started the Help one day this week and I finished it the next afternoon. It really is that good.
Kathryn Stockett’s book is about three women: two black, one white. Miss Skeeter is fresh out of college (Ole Miss), single, and yearning to be someone, to write. Minny and Aibileen are domestics just trying to get by. Minny spends her whole life trying to keep her anger inside her, and Aibileen loves each white child she takes care of like her own – until the day comes that that child finally absorbs the message that white is better than black and it’s time for her to move on.
When Miss Skeeter comes home from college, her beloved Constantine – who raised her from birth – is gone, and no one will tell her what happened. Out of frustration with her life, she starts a secret project that includes Aibileen and Minny. It’s a dangerous project, but it has to be done.
(I know that sounds vague. But it’s hard to say anything more and not give away too much.)
Various reviews on the web talk about the authentic voices the characters have. They alternate telling the story, each of them having a couple of chapters before switching to the next voice. But it doesn’t get confusing in the slightest. Kathryn Stockett really succeeded in giving each character a distinct voice, and I love the book for that.
I think this is going to be one of the books I come back to time and time again. Too bad the book’s not mine to keep – I borrowed it from a friend. Once I give it back, I know I’ll probably end up borrowing it from the library every couple months. Or I might just break down and buy my own copy. We’ll see.