by Amanda Hager
Gosh, where to begin! In all honesty, when I was reading this book, I felt like I was right there, standing as if I were a ghost; it all felt so real. The personalities of the characters, the friendships built and the risks that were taken, all in a matter of secrecy and trust. As with all books, The Help starts with some background information to bring you up to date with the current circumstances. It explains one of the main character’s roles in the story, Eugenia Phelan, also known as Skeeter, and where she is. Set in the deep south of Jackson, Mississippi, where slavery was still enacted, Skeeter is practically raised by her family maid, Constantine, throughout her entire childhood. When Skeeter leaves for her first term of college to become a writer, Constantine and Skeeter send letters back and forth keeping in touch on each of their own happenings.
When Skeeter returns home after completing her college career, she soon finds out her lifelong friend Constantine has been fired by her mother. As Skeeter desperately tries to find out every bit of information about Constantine’s whereabouts and why she was fired, Skeeter experiences multiple social confrontations that add more stress to her search. Elizabeth, her best friend, shows her true colors when drama goes down between Skeeter and Hilly Holbrook, the head of the League all the women are a part of. Hilly makes Skeeter’s life a living hell, constantly contradicting her and tormenting her as she struggles through what she thinks is right.
Throughout the story, you find out Skeeter doesn’t recognize the Help as others. She is down to earth and very understanding when it comes to their job and personalities. When talking to Hilly’s maid one afternoon and listening to her grumble about an issue at home and how her work schedule is conflicting with it, Skeeter comes up with a great idea: write a book about what it feels like to be the “help”.
Skeeter realizes it will not be easy writing such a book, for the safety and identity of each maid involved is at stake and there may be violence. The heartwarming journey to expose the lives of the Help will bring you to tears when some of the hidden truths are told. Stockett has written a truly powerful book that puts you in the scene with the characters as if they were you. USA Today has a quote in the first couple of pages of the book saying, “You can’t stop reading until you’ve devoured the last word…” and I couldn’t agree more.
Check out KRL’s review of The Help movie.