Having seen the movie first, I knew that I wanted to read the book, The Help. (I swear I’m not just reading books that have been made into movies, even though that’s how it seems.)
The book was as good as the movie, per usual. As I read, I confess to picturing all the actresses from the film, and I believe Hollywood did a good job at capturing the nature of the characters Kathryn Stockett imagined.
The story follows the lives of several people: Skeeter Phelan, a college graduate and writer who is looking for something more out of her southern belle life; Minnie Jackson, an outspoken maid; and Aibileen Clark, another maid, though much less outspoken than her friend Minnie.
Skeeter first comes into contact with Aibileen at her friend’s house, for whom Aibileen works. When Skeeter comes upon the idea to write an anonymous book about the lives of maids in Jackson, Mississippi, Aibileen is the first one she comes to. Aibileen then enlists the help of Minnie, and the three set out to chronicle what it’s like to be the help, eventually getting several other women to share their stories.
Along the way, the three run into various kinds of drama. Early on Minnie is fired from her job and gets a new one with an eccentric outcast of good Jackson society. Skeeter is trying to find love, but she’s having a hard time, and when she finally thinks shes found a catch, the inevitable drama comes up.
The Help is a heart-warming story, full of love, of all kinds, friendship, and justice. And in the climate of today’s world, Stockett’s themes throughout the book are relevant still. Her words ring true, “We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I thought.”
Stockett’s book is about standing in opposition to society’s injustices. The quote, “stand up for what you believe in, even if you’re standing alone” just about perfectly sums up Stockett’s message, and it’s one that will ring true forever.