Sunday 12 June 2011

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

It's 1962 andSkeeter has come back to Jackson from University full of hopes of becoming a writer. Everyone else though, including her friends, expects her to find a husband and start working on kids just as they did. Skeeter reluctantly goes along with their schemes and meanwhile wants to know why the maid who brought her up has disappeared. No one will tell her though. She gets a job at the local paper which gives her an excuse to question her friends maid, Aibeleen. Through this and her friends bathroom reform she decides to write a book from the perspective of the maids. The problem is that if discovered not only will she lose her social standing but the maids who talk will be put in great danger.

I wasn't expecting this book to be written from three different points of view. Mainly because of the clips I have seen so far of the film. I liked it though and for me this fact made the book. I think had it been from just Skeeter's or even Aibileen's point of view so much of the book would have been lost. Instead you see what three women might be losing should it be revealed that they are writing this book. Skeeter's potential losses almost seem trivial to that of the maids as they aren't just in danger of losing their jobs but also their lives. Still you can't help but feel for her as her social world slowly falls apart.

I have since read a few reviews that mention that these characters are very much stereotyped. I can see a little of that but as I have very little knowledge of Mississippi at all or that way of living I certainly didn't find it too noticeable. I can see why this might irritate people though. It irritates me when I read about Scot's being stereotyped. The author though was from that state and was herself brought up by a maid so that also takes away any irritation I may feel. She has lived that life and can certainly talk write about it at least from the perspective of Skeeter.

I have been wanting to read this book since I first saw it on the shelves a few years ago. Again it was one of those ones I noted but too many other books crowding for my attention. I finally bought it after reading so many reviews and then seeing a few clips of the film. The film did look good but now that I have read the book I fear that maybe it won't do it justice. The same fear I always have when I love a book. I think I might have to see what other reviewers think of it before I go ahead and see it.

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