The Help tells the story of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi from the perspective of an idealistic 22 year old white girl. Skeeter is fresh out of college and struggles to reconcile her new values with those of her married bridge club girlfriends. Desperate to prove herself as a journalist, Skeeter convinces the maids Abalene and Minnie to help her write a book about their experiences. Although their meetings are a secret, dangerous violation of the strict social boundaries they function within, they hope to be part of the civil rights struggle going on around them. By seeing her familiar world with new eyes, Skeeter allows the reader to experience the race relations of 50 years ago from a modern perspective.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Between the time this book was selected in May and we discussed it in September it became a run-away best seller and hit film. We agreed that this was for good reason – both book and movie tell an engrossing story with strong female characters, nasty villains and a movement for social change we could all root for. We discussed the similarity between black civil rights and the current struggle for gay rights. We touched on the contoversy being raised by some reviewers about why this story about black civil rights is being told by a white protagonist and written by a white author. We found the book a great read -smartly paced and full of sly observations. Recommended.