Before I started reading The Help, I knew nothing about it. And that's sort of how I like going into books, without any back story, no ideas of characters, time frame or anything. My aunt lent me the book saying "It's so good, you need to read it" and I'm quite glad I did. It was definitely a book that kept my interest and definitely opened my eyes to a time when I wasn't even born.
The Help follows the story of three women with three very different lives from Mississippi in the 60s. Ms. Skeeter is a young white woman who has always grown up with everything and been oblivious to the life around. However after returning home from college and really opening her eyes she begins to notice the very real effects of "separate but equal." Aibileen is a black woman working as a nanny/maid in the house of one of Skeeter's friends. She's been around long enough to raise many white children and acknowledges her standing in society. Minny, on the other hand, is Aibileen's best friend yet is nothing like her. She is younger, louder and all around sassier than any other woman in Mississippi. Although from very different worlds, all three womens' lives intersect as they embark on a journey to share their stories with everyone. (For a more detailed synopsis go here).
Basically I loved this book. I loved how each woman got to narrate different chapters and how seamlessly it transitioned from one to the other without confusing the reader. I also loved the story overall. One white woman, in the midst of segregation, standing out and risking everything in a society that shunned her to expose the truth is amazing. And Minny and Aibileen? They are such amazingly strong depictions of black women in the South and I loved it. Although they knew what they were risking and what could happen to them, they continued on with the book anyways because they knew it needed to be out there, needed to be exposed.
I also loved the ending. At first I was a bit torn about it because I wanted everything to be resolved. But then I realized it was better not wrapping everything up. It left me wondering, questioning, anticipating another book to continue where this one left off. So all in all, a very fitting ending for such a emotionally gripping book.
So do I think you should run to your library or bookstore and pick up this book? YES! Go get it, enjoy it and then come tell me about it.