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Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

23/08/2017

We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.”

One of my favourite books of all time, The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett, focuses around 3 women and their different lives, giving their perspectives on racial and social barriers that were very prominent during that time period, various relationships, and different struggles like poverty, violence and fear that they experienced.

It’s 1962 in Jackson, capital of the state of Mississippi. Skeeter is a fresh college graduate and white young woman, and her mother thinks her degree is a useless piece of paper and wishes for her to be married as soon as possible. However, Skeeter is a passionate and driven writer, and gets a job as a writer of a column about cooking and cleaning a house as a way of getting closer to her goal to become a writer/editor at a real publishing house. But she knows nothing about this topic, as all this is taken care of by what is called “the help”, essentially maids. She soon realizes that “the help”, which consisted mostly of black maids, were treated horribly and worked in deplorable conditions. Examples of this are shown through Minny and Abileen, both black maids working for white families, but who are strong, determined and incredible women. Through their perspectives is where you can really see how awfully black maids were treated and how hard they worked just to survive. At the household where Minny first works, they force her to use a different bathroom because they believe she carries a different disease just for being black. It made me uncomfortable just reading that part of the book, and it really emphasizes how hard it was being a minority at that time. Therefore, Skeeter, along with the help of Minny and Abileen, starts writing a book highlighting these struggles for “the help”, something that was illegal at the time. It gains national attention and opens the eyes of everyone.

This book was amazing, it really highlights how similar as humans we all are, no matter the race. We all have struggles and fears, and we all want to live our best lives as well as be respected. It’s a great story to painfully remind us of racial injustices and to demonstrate the progress that has been made as the story underlines incredibly important themes throughout, like freedom and equality, and what’s best, is that Stockett tells the story with raw emotion. You really fall in love and feel for these characters, and you want things for them to get better.

Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Bloggers in Residence are fantastic teen volunteer writers from across the city. They blog about their favourite teen reads and authors, and get writing assignments to cover special teen events happening at the library. Their residency rotates throughout the year. Call-outs for upcoming terms are made through the Teen Blog.  

 

 

Image: The Help

The Help

By Stockett, Kathryn
Image: The Help

The Help

By Stockett, Kathryn
Image: The Help

The Help

By Stockett, Kathryn
Image: The Help

The Help

By Stockett, Kathryn

The Help

By Stockett, Kathryn