Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but being that I'm in the middle of a book deadline, I'm lucky to be brushing my teeth right now (okay, I do brush my teeth several times a day, it's washing my hair that's taken a sideline). I know there are writers who don't read while they're in deep writing mode, but I'm not one of them. It would be like asking me to stop breathing. I simply can't. I mean, there has to be some kind of break in the day, and I always, always, always, read before going to sleep at night.
A few weeks ago I read The Help (a book that has intrigued me from the moment I first heard of it). I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I cried, I laughed and I mostly marveled at what a fantastic writer Kathryn Stockett is (which means I desperately hate her, of course) Seriously, Kathryn, if you're listening, you make me want to be a better writer.
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women--mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.