Amazon; $13.72Whether you're a CafeMom Bookaholic or just looking for a compelling read, The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2009) is a New York Times bestseller that will immerse you in the 1960s South, where the massive societal transition surrounding civil rights struggles to see the light of day.
The Help is Stockett's first work of fiction, and she comes out of the gate with a compelling first-person narrative of three women in Jackson, Mississippi -- one white woman of privilege and two black women working as maids. As segregation is still alive and well, these women cautiously -- extremely cautiously -- begin to work together, trying to make sense of the changing world.
Minny, the sassiest maid in Jackson, who's on the bad side of a powerful society woman, Aibileen, a lifelong baby nurse and maid who's lost her own son, and Miss Skeeter, an aspiring writer and member of the Jackson elite, embark on a project of discovery, which becomes increasingly dangerous for all parties involved.
Taking a peek into such an era of change is always an emotional event, and Stockett makes the political personal as the lives of these women intertwine, connect, and rip apart. The complexity of their relationships to each other and within their own communities is beautiful and terrible. But where Stockett really shines is showing the humanity in flawed people struggling to understand issues of equality, self-worth, and respect that are so clear today.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett ($13.72) -- Amazon
The Help by Kathryn Stockett on Kindle ($8.99) -- Amazon