Instead of spotlighting an author today, I decided it was time for another book review. One of the most thought-provoking novels I read towards the end of last year was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Set in Mississippi during the 1960s civil rights movement, this is the life-afirming story of three women who helped to change the perceptions of their small-town world.
When young white college graduate Skeeter returns home hoping to start a career in journalism, she discovers her beloved maid, Constantine, has gone and no one will tell her why. While her mother's only concern is that her daughter will make a good marriage, Skeeter soon discovers another side to her town in the lives of the black maids and she sets out on a life-changing course of action.
The other two main characters in The Help are Aibiline, the wise and wonderful maid who has brought up 17 white children, sometimes providing the love and affection they're denied by their parents, and Minnie, Aibline's sassy, loud-mouth friend who has a talent for cooking but can't keep a job. When they become involved in Skeeter's project, it is amidst the fear of being discovered and the subsequent horrific risk to them and their families.
While the characterisations are first class, it is the strength of the story line, the authentic setting, and the humanity that makes this an unforgettable novel. It is hard to imagine that this kind of situation existed during the swinging sixties, and it reminds us of the hard-fought battle for basic human rights.
The Help is now a film but I haven't managed to see it yet. If anyone has read the book and seen the film - do you think the film was an accurate portrayal of the novel?