*Disclaimer: This is one of a number of book reviews I will be posting before the end of 2011. Beginning in 2012 the format for book reviews will change and I will post once at the end of each month, reviewing all books read during that month.
Synopsis: "Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:
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."
I was pleasantly surprised by this clever story and enjoyed it immensely. Kathryn Stockett is a terrific storyteller and uses her witty writing style to document a very difficult time in history through the eyes of three unique women. I was immediately drawn in and loved how the story moved back and forth among the women. The characters are vibrant and lively, and it is fun to witness their growth over the course of the novel. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction or enjoys some good old fashioned storytelling.