The Help - Movie Review

The Help

The Help - Movie Review

Famous for its movie adaptation in 2011, The Help is the first novel by American author Kathryn Stockett -published in 2009. This daring and compelling novel takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, right around the time of the civil rights movement in the USA. 

Stockett took one of the most difficult, sensitive topics and crossed every rigid line to make her voice and the voices of her characters heard loud and clear. 

The Help tells the story of a group of African-American maids working for American households in the sixties. It revolves around three southern women who may seem to be at the opposite ends of every spectrum at first sight, but as the characters and the readers come to realize, they have more similarities than differences.

The first of these characters is 22-year-old Eugenia Phelan or Skeeter, who returns home after college to find that her maid is gone and no one would tell her where she went or why. Skeeter doesn’t exactly fit into her community, too tall, fuzzy hair, and although she has a degree, she is not whole in the eyes of her town or her mother until she has a ring on her finger.

The second character is Aibileen Clark, a sensible, kind African-American maid for one of the most influential women in town. Aibileen’s seventeen-year-old son tragically loses his life while his bosses turn a blind eye. This changes something within the woman’s broken heart. 

The third woman is perhaps one of the funniest characters ever portrayed. Her name is Minny Jackson, a heavy black maid with enough sass to cover the whole of Mississippi, twice. Her smart mouth and sharp tongue make holding onto a job quite difficult, but she finally lands a job for a lady new to town, a woman of extreme beauty, peculiar character, and some skeletons in her closet. 

These three women come together in a risky alliance that could put their lives and livelihoods in extreme danger. Skeeter, who dreams of being a writer starts to write an article that then turns into a book, about the stories of black maids in white houses in the south, starring Aibileen, Minny, and many more. 

This novel is brave, funny, and enjoyable, but also horrifying and eye-opening. The events, conversations, and stories written in this book are sure to resonate with you long after you have turned the last page. Although the racial conditions have changed drastically since the 1960s, many of the questions and reflections in Stockett’s novel are still equally relevant when projected on today’s realities. 

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