I've read a few glowing reviews recently of The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. The description from Amazon sounds a bit cheesy, but the reviews I've read have been unanimously, unequivocally positive. Here's the blurb:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. 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.
NOW…check out these reviews:
From Booking Mama: "I'm having a very hard time writing this review for The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I think it's because I absolutely adored every page of the marvelous novel and don't know how to express it. I'm worried that I'll start gushing about the storyline, the characters, the writing, etc. and that I won't be able to express myself coherently. But this book really is worthy of some major gushing – The Help is definitely going to be on a lot of 'Best of…' lists for 2009."
From Bookroom Reviews: "Learning how the three women come together in the story and how things will turn out, kept me anxiously turning the pages. The Help is about hope, loss, bravery, fear, change and love. I think you will not only learn from these incredible characters, but you will also wish they were your friends."
From The Book Lady's Blog: "The Help is addictively, compulsively readable. I couldn’t put it down. Stockett’s debut is well-written, and it is clear that she really understands Southern life and has made great efforts to understand what life was like for black women who served white families. She presents sad stories that leave a great glimmer of hope, and though she examines our differences and our mistakes, she highlights our humanity to wonderful effect. And while this is a serious book, it also has wonderfully lighthearted moments, humorous moments, and strikingly funny insights into women and their behavior. I loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough. This is a wonderful first novel that hints at the promise of a very bright career. 5 out of 5."
Entertainment Weekly says: "When folks at your book club wonder what to read next month, go on and pitch this wholly satisfying novel with confidence. A-"
Wow. I could list 20 more just like that. Sounds like a book I have to read.