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The Help: Book Review

Kathryn Stockett paints a captivating portrait of sun-baked 1963 Jackson, Mississippi in her fascinating novel The Help, told in turn by three women. Aibileen Clark is an African American maid who's seen her fair share of prejudice in her lifetime. Aibileen has the whole church flocking to her to ask her to pray for them; there's something special about Aibileen's prayers. They seem to work better than others.

Minny Jackson is a maid as well, but she doesn't bite her tongue at all. With not a lazy bone in her body and an award-winning caramel cake to her name, you'd think Minny would have her fair share of job pickings. But Minny Jackson has sass, and lots of it! It helped that her employer was elderly, almost deaf, and had a massive craving for caramel cake, but Minnie has been "dismissed" and Hilly Holbrook, the town's queen bee that no one dares cross, has been spreading nasty rumors about her. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is fed up. She may be Caucasian with a trust fund to her name but she feels pretty trapped herself. All her friends are married and her nitpicky mother can't wait for Skeeter to have a ring on her finger, but all Skeeter wants to do is write.

One day, Skeeter has an idea. She wants to write a book: a book told from the perspective of the maids. But it has to be a secret. Skeeter knows that if anyone finds out about the book she's writing and the maids telling the stories, they'll all be flogged, put in jail, or worse. The tales Skeeter unveils will shock, enrage, and forever change the women and the town.

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