The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Young, white junior league member Skeeter Phelan and black maids Aibileen and Minny seem an unlikely grouping in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter is newly graduated from college and starting to question the way things happen in her conservative town. The more time she spends with Aibileen and Minny, the more she realizes everything that is wrong in her society and the dehumanizing way in which many of her friends treat their maids. As Skeeter’s social awareness grows, she enlists Aibileen and Minny in a project that will change all of their lives, and maybe even Jackson.
“The Help” is an absolutely incredible book about race relations in the South during the Civil Rights Era. Now, I did not personally live through that time period, but each of the characters just rang so true. Aibileen, Skeeter, and Minny take turns narrating sections. Each of them is such a rich character that, whenever it is her turn to narrate, I’m sure she’s my favorite. Then the next character would take her turn and I would love her just as much. The writing and character development was all so lovely that I could scarcely believe this was a debut novel.
Heightening my enjoyment of “The Help” was the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook. Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter’s sections were each narrated by a different woman and all of them were amazing. They infused so much emotion into their words. Particularly interesting was hearing how one character (say Skeeter, for example) was ‘done’ by a different character’s narrator (perhaps Minny’s), or the different ways each of them did the voices for the periphery characters. I felt as if I was getting an insight into how each of the characters saw the others, it really made the book that much better.
Absolutely fantastic book, I completely recommend it. And if you are wanting to try your hand at listening to audiobooks, this is a wonderful choice.