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.