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More About The Help by Kathryn Stockett; Jenna Lamia; Bahni Turpin; Octavia SpencerOverviewBe prepared to meet three unforgettable women. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women-- mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 57.
- Review Date: 2009-03-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Four peerless actors render an array of sharply defined black and white characters in the nascent years of the civil rights movement. They each handle a variety of Southern accents with aplomb and draw out the daily humiliation and pain the maids are subject to, as well as their abiding affection for their white charges. The actors handle the narration and dialogue so well that no character is ever stereotyped, the humor is always delightful, and the listener is led through the multilayered stories of maids and mistresses. The novel is a superb intertwining of personal and political history in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, but this reading gives it a deeper and fuller power. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 1). (Feb.)BookPage Reviews
Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s, when the civil rights movement was gathering momentum and the backlash was bloody, seems an odd place for a privileged white girla recent Ole Miss grad and editor of the Junior League newsletterto start a secret book project collecting the stories, good and bad, of what it's really like for the black women who work for white families, intimates but always inferiors. "Skeeter" Pheelan does just that with the determined help of the help, Aibileen and Minny, two very different African American women who have spent their lives caring for their employers and raising their children. The Help, Kathryn Stockett's poignant, powerful debut novel, follows their intertwined efforts. Though it deals with very serious problemssegregation, intolerance, inhumanityit's above all a wonderful story, hopeful and humorous, wonderfully told, with characters you won't want to leave. And, it's a fabulous example of how a brilliant ensemble audio performance can make "wonderful" even better. Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer and Cassandra Campbell's pitch-perfect narration captures the time and place, the accents of each character, as well as their sorrow, anger, frustration, hate, humiliation and genuine love with an authenticity that's hard to match. You'll laugh and cry as these three women work together, learn to go beyond their own preconceptions, learn to trust and truly overcome.