The Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Help is definitely at the top of my list of favorite books. Set in the early 1960's, it is the story of three women in Jackson, Mississippi--one white (Skeeter) and two black (Aibileen and Minny). Each woman takes turns narrating from her own perspective and each character is so richly developed that their voices are distinct and genuine.
It is hard to describe the gamut of emotions I felt while reading this book: shame, disgust, delight, sorrow, disbelief, love, regret and the list goes on. And it really was nail-bitingly suspenseful.
In the years directly preceding the death of Martin Luther King Jr., I was still surprised to read of the conditions and hate and ignorance that existed. And although this is a work of fiction, Kathryn Stockett is speaking from life experience.
One thing I love about this book is that it doesn't focus only on the imperfections of the white people, but also speaks to the fact that there was a wide spectrum of people at different points of goodness or evil.
I cried when this book ended for the sheer fact that I would miss all three of those women. It was as if good friends were moving away and I wouldn't see them again.
Audio Review: Aside from the excellence of the novel itself, this is a superb audio recording. Each of the three narrators were, in a word, perfect! In fact, there was one chapter in the book that was narrated by a fourth and objective narrator. At that point I sorely missed the other three. I also had the strange impulse to speak with a southern drawl whenever I listened to it for a while.
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