It's 1962 Mississippi and three women - aspiring writer Skeeter, professional nanny/maid Aibileen and sassy maid Minny -come together for a project that puts them all at risk.
By now, most bloggers are well aware of the ample charms of this engaging novel. I was one who was initially put off by the sheer length of the book - at 450 pages, it qualifies for the Chunkster Challenge. But I am here to tell you ... I wish this could have been TWICE as long - I enjoyed the main characters that much (Minny was my favorite) - and I'd have loved to have gotten more about a lot of the side characters, especially Celia Foote, Constantine, Sugar and Kindra.
Not having spent much time in the American deep south, I can't say how accurate the portrayals of the maids' daily lives were, but the injustices they had to bear certainly sound likely for what I know about the time. While race relations have thankfully improved in this part of the world (thanks to brave men and women like the ones in this novel), there IS still a general attitude of superiority in many parts of the world and I definitely noticed a “colonial mentality” while in Kenya last month (where I read this).
I overheard conversations where expats complained about finding a decent maid since “all Kenyans are lazy”. There were complaints about theft, and even about maids using the house toilet instead of going behind a bush (hey, they should be used to it right?). Seriously!
THE HELP doesn’t come out in paperback until the end of May, but it’s one it is worth getting in hardcover. Find out more about it at the author’s website.