Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Must Read times 12!

That means you really, really, really to the 12th power have to read this book!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is the best book I have read in years. Intriguing, phenomenal, fabulous, educational, eye-opening, absorbing... I could go on and on.

New college graduate Eugenia "Skeeter" Feelind arrives back at her parents' home to await her future: a husband, a house, babies. Skeeter only has two issues with that plan. One, she's never even been out on a date. And two, she wants to be a writer more than she wants to be a wife. It's 1962 and society hasn't yet deemed it possible for a woman to be both.

When she comes up with an idea for a book and gets a publisher's tentative nod, Skeeter befriends the "help" -- the black maids that every worthy society woman employs. It's the maids' stories Skeeter wants to share -- how their experiences working for white women affects them, breaks them, strengthens them.

Socializing with people of another race is dangerous business in the early 1960's. Beatings, mutilation, even murder are common place if white men happen to discover any socialization they believe is untoward. Skeeter, in her innocence, isn't aware of the implications of interacting with the help until only one, just one, person, Abiliene, agrees to help her. Everyone else is scared to lose their livelihood.

Slowly, many other maids begin to understand the importance of having their stories told. The realize that just maybe their stories will make the difference for so many others. Skeeter arranges secret meetings to hear their stories and over the course of a year, her book takes shape and is published anonymously.

Skeeter's book, quickly becoming a must-read, creates caverns of emotions, deep and devastating and freeing.

Kathryn Stockett's writing is unbelievably beautiful. From the very first page, she pulls the reader in with her brilliant descriptions and lyrical prose. You're pulled in so deeply that you can almost physically feel the heat waves rolling over the cotton fields, taste the sweet tea in the Junior Leaguer's glasses, feel the cool imprint of the silver service and enjoy the delight of a first air conditioner.

If you have a chance, listen to the audio version. I have never heard such amazing readers!

You will never forget this book. Go get it. Today. Go, Delicious Readers, go!

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