Recommended: The Help

Kathryn Stockett (2009)

This book was the perfect escape into another time and place, populated by wonderful, rich characters. Just the thing to read while recovering from surgery—a page-turner that had me eagerly reading from page one.

The Help concerns a group of women living in Mississippi in the early 1960s. As the Civil Rights Movement grows stronger, issues of racism and equality play out in the lives of a handful of white friends and the black women who clean their homes, feed their husbands, and raise their children. As one of the bridge ladies champions a movement to segregate bathrooms within the home (relegating the help to the garage), another begins in secret to compile the life stories of the ever-present yet invisible help. Tensions in the community rise as a reflection of the times, which increases the urgency and danger of the book project for all involved.

The Help is well written and the author does a wonderful job of juggling a large cast of characters, giving each a distinct voice and viewpoint. For the most part, she succeeds in steering clear of melodrama and manages to create a tension that pulled me through, eager to learn how the story ends for each of the women I’d come to care about.

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