The Help
by Kathryn Stockett

Overview -

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

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.  Read more...

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More About The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

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.

from the hardcover edition

  • ISBN-13: 9780425232200
  • ISBN-10: 0425232204
  • Publisher: Berkley Books
  • Publish Date: April 2011
  • Page Count: 534
  • Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

BookPage Reviews

Best bets for reading groups

This month’s best paperback releases for reading groups include this year's National Book Award winner and two much-touted novels. 

Jennifer Egan’s raucous new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, offers a perceptive look at today’s music industry by focusing on the career of a man who’s seen it all. Bennie Salazar was in a punk band years ago in San Francisco. Now a record producer in New York, he serves as the center of Egan’s narrative, which is structured as a group of loosely connected vignettes about Bennie’s career and the California music scene that nurtured him. The book flashes back to Bennie’s wild past, conjuring a range of voices and characters from that era—groupies, street kids, would-be musicians—then returns to the present, highlighting the changes that have taken place (for the worst, mostly) in the music business. Egan develops a wonderful cast of characters along the way. There’s Sasha, a kleptomaniac who works for Bennie, and Scotty, a fellow musician who’s now a recluse. At once humorous and earnest, antic and tender, this is an inventive look at an aging artist and the passions that fueled his career. 

Winner of the National Book Award, Jaimy Gordon’s latest novel, Lord of Misrule, is a rich depiction of horse-racing culture set in West Virginia in the 1970s. Tommy Hansel, a trainer at Indian Mound Downs, hopes to swindle the competition through a con involving four different horses. When Tommy is joined at the track by Maggie, his attention-grabbing girlfriend, she’s quickly noticed by everyone, including gangster Joe Dale Bigg. Drawn to the dark side of racing, Maggie soon finds herself in need of protection, which arrives in the form of a tough guy named Two-Tie. At Indian Mound, a place where loyalty and honesty are in short supply, fortunes can change overnight, and Tommy’s luck doesn’t last long. In Gordon’s hands, the track is brought to vibrant life, populated with groomers and gamblers, coaches and owners. Her many narrative gifts include an ear for jargon, an instinct for pacing and a style that’s lyrical without being heavy-handed. This is a masterfully crafted novel that’s satisfying on every level. 

The top choice, hands down, of BookPage readers for best new title of 2009 will finally be available in paperback on April 5. With more than two million copies sold, The Help has been so successful in hardcover that publication of a paperback edition was delayed several times. Adding to the excitement surrounding this insightful Southern novel is a much-anticipated movie based on the book, scheduled for August release and starring up-and-comer Emma Stone. Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, the story of how smart, resourceful socialite Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan joins forces with two black maids, Minny and Aibileen, to write a book about the lives of Southern servants is a poignant and ambitious work of fiction. Through the alliance of this unlikely trio, Stockett examines the big shifts taking place in 1960s society. The novel’s crisp prose, fresh characterizations and inventive storyline all seem the work of an old hand, but this unforgettable novel is Stockett’s debut. 


BAM Customer Reviews