Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I just finished reading The Help- and while it is an adult book- it is very appropriate for young adults to read. I absolutely loved this book- it will be going into my box of Civil Rights books immediately.
Set in the 1960's in the deep south, during a time of segregation between blacks and whites. There were clear lines drawn between the two groups that was very hard to change- but very easy to identify. The Help is a book that looks at these lines and how the divide started changing during the Civil Rights movement.
The Help follows several characters, but it is told through three voices. Skeeter- a 23 year old girl who has just graduated from Ole Miss- a place where she was successful in gaining an education, but very unsuccessful in gaining a husband- the main purpose for young white girls to go to school. The other two voices are Aibileen and Missy- two black women who are maids for Skeeter's friends. While Aibileen and Missy are women of two different generations- their lives share many similarities. It is through the relationship they have with the families they work for that they share a common bond.
When Skeeter tries to find a place for herself- she starts a project that draws these three women together. It is a dangerous project that could put all of their lives at risk. This project helps each of these women deal with the separation between black and white and the attitude of many in the southern part of the United States during this time.
I would suggest parents or an adult read this book before giving it to a student or parent- but I for one will be sharing this book with my students in the fall!