The Help is an illustrative tale of the racial tensions in Jackson 1962, it illuminates segregation, prejudice and the hurtful truths of the past. Set around the time of the Civil Rights Movement this story ties together historical fact and fiction.
Kathryn Stockett, a white author, bravely took the challenging task of writing and presuming what life would be like as ‘The Help’, raising young white children who would inevitably grow up to discriminate and affiliate with the blinkered opinions of their society. The author draws upon her experiences of growing up in Mississippi to create a revelatory story of injustice, discrimination and relationships.
Each chapter of the story is written from the perspective and narrated in the voice of one of the three main characters. It follows the intertwined lives of these women, two of whom are black maids (Aibileen and Minny), and one a young white lady (Skeeter) who recognises the unjust nature of her society. The main hook in this story highlights the choking fear and tradition that trapped many women in their role as the help.
Though it is important to note that this story not only evokes sympathy but is also riotously funny with doses and doses of humour. Notably, rebel Minny’s ‘terrible awful’ insurance pie. This book is simply a warm and beautiful read. It is a truly vivid account of historical-fiction.