By Kathryn Stockett
Amy Einhorn Books, Hardcover, 9780399155345, 451pp.
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
List Price: $24.95*
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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.
Kathryn Stockett's first novel, The Help, has become a New York Times best-seller — and it has its readers buzzing about its racial themes. She says the book is not autobiographical, even though she was raised in Mississippi with a black maid. But Stockett says criticism over how she characterizes the black maids makes her "cringe." More at NPR.org
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