The Help

This year hasn't been my best year for novel-reading. But recently, I read a fabulous one that I had to pass on. I've been meaning to write a little review for a while, and found myself a quiet afternoon to share it with you today. After Christmas I'll be sharing all the books I read this past year, so come back if you want some more good titles to add to your reading lists!

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When I was a baby, my parents went to Georgia to visit family. It would have been sometime around the 1979 or 1980. It was hot and my mother mentioned taking me to the local pool.

"You don't want to go to that pool," my mom's uncle said. "That's where all the colored go (he used a different word). They're just not like us, you know."

That sentiment has been around a long time. No doubt it still exists in the hearts of some. Which is why a book like The Help by Kathryn Stockett is still needed even today.

Inspired by the memory of the African-American woman who worked for her family, Stockett tells the story of three fictitious women whose lives become interwoven in a potentially dangerous undertaking. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s, two African-American women who work as "help" to white families end up becoming unlikely friends with the privileged white "Skeeter" Phelan, a recent college graduate. Skeeter embarks on a secret writing project telling the tales of black women who've spent their lives as "help." Skeeter also seeks to uncover what really happened to the beloved black woman who raised her and has mysterious disappeared.

This story is spellbinding, heart-breaking, and hopeful. Stockett does a fabulous job with creating three distinct "voices" for her three main characters, who each take their own turn telling their story. This is not a novel to miss!