I recently finished a book I initally had a hard time starting but once I did, I really got into it. Six months ago, I was finishing the Stieg Larsson trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series) and it was tough to go from that genre to this book but I tell you, I am glad I read The Help. This is a book that really gets you thinking about how the South and really the country, just 40-50 years ago, was segregated. “Separate but equal” really was just a punchline for the dirty truth- DISCRIMINATION. It’s hard to believe the decade before I was born in this country, we treated people differently simply for the color of their skin and of course, fear of differences. Sure, it’s controversial, sure, it raises some criticism but it is a good book. It is well-written, and written from the perspective of three separate female characters. If you can keep who is the narrator at any given time, this book just flies by and before you know it, the book is done, leaving you wanting to know more. What happens to everyone? Is there is a sequel? I was left wanting more and that to me, is a sign of a great book.
This book is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 60s. It covers the time of President Kennedy and his assassination. Martin Luther King, Jr., is starting his nonviolence movement for desegregation and equality for Blacks in America. It is a great story about the times from the point of view of the help- the cooks, the maids, and the women who were nannies, often for white families. Whether historically accurate or not, it really does get you thinking about how different times were back then. When I place myself as a character in the book, I do not think in my wildest imagination, as I fast forward 40+ years, that we would have an African-American President of the United States. That is a truly historic event in American history and this fictional book absolutely confirms it. Of course, I always read everything with a purpose and this book definitely has purpose. The movie is set to release this August and I would definitely recommend this quick read before you head out to see the movie. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a book that makes you think, a book that makes you appreciate where we are today as a country despite our continued differences.