The Help Book Review-Author Kathryn Stockett

Myla Blair, Reporter

The Help gives young readers an insight to see what life was like for African Americans in the 1960s, which we sometimes forget that wasn’t that long ago. 

The Help is a historical drama based around 1962-1964 in Jackson Mississippi, where in the south things were still segregated. Two maids, Minny and Ablieen, are working for rich white families. Skeeter, who is a journalist is wanting to tell their stories to show people what life is like for a maid in Jackson. 

Ablieen has raised 17 children and worked for several families in her career as a maid. Ablieen does everything around the homes she works at: cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids. However, times are rough for her because she just lost her own son because of his boss’s mistake. Ablieen is devoted to her work as she is working for the Leefolts and raising their daughter Mae Mobley who has become like one of her own. 

Minny is known as the sassiest and best cook in Mississippi and is Abileen’s best friend. As she was recently fired from her previous job because she has a strong attitude. She finds a new job working for a new family in town who hasn’t ever had a maid. The wife after all has a few problems of her own and is refusing to tell her husband she has hired help. In this time in the south that is frowned upon because things are still segregated and only certain families are okay with having help. However, the husband adores her and her cooking of course. 

Skeeter is an Ole Miss graduate and is now back home. Her mom, however, is her biggest issue and wants her to get married and stay home. Skeeter isn’t like other young girls in the south; she doesn’t want to stay home and be a “Housewife.” Skeeter has big dreams of being a writer; she is starting her career by sharing Minny and Ablines lives as maids, which in the south in the 1960s is an extremely risky task. Whites and Blacks aren’t supposed to be in each other’s presence unless it is for a working purpose. Maids are definitely not supposed to be sharing their employers family’s secrets. 

The Help does a very good job showing what life was like for these women in the 1960s, by showing that life hasn’t always been this way where everyone has the same rights. Most people today are very accepting during this time that wasn’t the case. Personally I would rate this book a 4/5 . I would recommend this book to middle and high school kids who like history.