The Help – A book review

I’m a little worried that I just won’t do this book justice as I try to write a review for you, that I won’t truly convey the power of this novel and theThe Help Book Review emotion that it caused me to feel. I wish it were as simple as telling you that you must read this book because if you haven’t you should and if you have, you will totally agree with me that it’s a powerful story. A story that will make you laugh, maybe cry, and possibly even make you stand up and cheer. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even heard of The Help until I recently received an email regarding the upcoming movie release. Once I viewed the featurette I immediately rushed to my local library and checked out the book. It’s 444 pages long, but I could have easily read 1000 pages to get more of a peek inside the lives of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. They are the central characters of this fiction novel, which takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. While these three women seem so very different, considering two of them are black maids for white families and one of them is a young white girl fresh out of college, they come together in the most incredible way ever. Skeeter is the young white woman who had a powerful bond with her family’s maid, Constantine, as a child. She loved her dearly and in many ways probably considered her more of a mother than the one who gave birth to her. It seems this was the case with many of the black maids and their white children in a time of segregation and a belief that blacks were dirty and carried diseases that white folks didn’t. As I type those words, I cringe at such a truth, at the idea of other human beings being treated as if their lives were simply disposable and meaningless. That this was acceptable brings on other feelings of disgust and shame. As I attempted to wrap my brain around that and imagined, truly attempted to imagine, living during that time, I always found myself relating to Skeeter. While all of the white women she socialized with were busy speaking negatively and insulting of their maids she often felt the opposite, but rarely voiced her opinions. She wanted nothing more than to be a writer and work in New York City. She was told by a publisher to write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.(read that again, that’s powerful advice) Scary words for a time when nobody spoke out about the racial divide and poor treatment of blacks for fear of ridicule, physical harm, or possibly even death. While Skeeter didn’t often speak out, she had inner thoughts that nobody else would have wanted to hear. She lost every friend that she had, but was just about the bravest woman and if she existed in real life, I’d want to be her friend.

She took that advice from the publisher very seriously and decided she’d like to write a story about the maids, in their own words, about what it’s like to work as the Help for the white families while, often times, caring for their children. These were women who cooked, cleaned, looked after and loved the children, but were not allowed to use the same bathrooms of the families they worked for. Finding anyone who would be willing to talk and share their story would prove to be an uphill battle for Skeeter, but she never gave up. Eventually many of the maids reluctantly came on board for this project that would change all of them. It was worked on in the evening hours in complete secrecy with names of everyone being changed, as well as the name of the town they lived in. As I read each chapter I was often worried for them and their safety and whether or not someone would find out and harm would come to one or all of them. I became so angry that this was something I had to fear, something that they had to fear. While I consider myself someone who would speak out against something I feel is wrong, I can’t truly imagine what this must have been like for those women. The epitome of strength and perseverance, they will surely win your respect and your heart.



  1. What a great book review. I also LOVED this book Cathy! I’m hoping the movie lives up to this well written novel.


  1. […] P.S.- My friend Cathy wrote a great book review of The Help. […]

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