Book cover: 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

TITLE: “The Help”

AUTHOR: Kathryn Stockett

Three women very different from one another come together for a project that puts them all at risk and changes a town forever and the way women view one another.

Eugenia Skeeter is a white graduate student just returning home. She has a goal of becoming a journalist, but her mother has a different goal in mind for her daughter. Because of conflict, Eugenia meets secretly for several weeks with black maids to share cultural stories about working for the white households they served.

After two long years, 5,000 copies of the book were published, and created a big stir in Jackson, Mississippi. Did Eugenia’s dream come true for her? How did the publication affect the three women?

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Aibileen served as a black maid for the Leefolt family. At age 53 she had cared for 17 white children who were neglected by the parents. She earned $172 a month and after bills were paid she had a meager $13 left for food and herself. She was not allowed to use the family bathroom or be involved with family, but yet the family graciously accepted her services that made their lives easier. Fair? How long did she work for the family? Did she leave on her own or did she get fired? There is a lot more to read about her life.

Minny was Aibileen’s best friend, wife to Le Roy, and mother of five children and lived in an abusive situation. Abuse by whom? Who were the victims of abuse? One of her experiences as a maid was working secretly for a woman who could not cook or clean, was lazy, and never left the house. The woman did not want her husband to know about Minny. Did he find out? If he did, how was his reaction? Did Minny stay on?

Celia was referred to as a “home drunk,” but when an intruder entered her house, she and Minny beat him with a broom and fireplace poker. Were the police called? Was the intruder a known person? How bad were his injuries? Did Minny stay in her abusive situation? What about the five children?

Read “The Help” for more about the project, more experiences between the two cultures, and of course, answers to all the questions I posed here for the reader!

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