Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...
There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is... read more
An engrossing, vivid, funny, and important book about three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. Stockett writes in three first-person voices: 1. a middle-aged black maid who specializes in childcare, 2. a hot-tempered black maid who cares for a once-poor, now-rich white woman,... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
An engrossing, vivid, funny, and important book about three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. Stockett writes in three first-person voices: 1. a middle-aged black maid who specializes in childcare, 2. a hot-tempered black maid who cares for a once-poor, now-rich white woman, and 3. a white girl who's just graduated from college and is floundering around. The Help is "about" race and feminism, but not in an earnest or heavy-handed way.
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, stout, 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.
“It ain't a baby, it's a skeeter!”Carlton Phlean
“You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”Aibileen Clark (page 199)
“How the first time his foot fell asleep and he say it tickle, I told him that was just his foot snoring.”Aibileen Clark
“She already got the blue dress on I ironed this morning, the one with sixty-five pleats on the waist, so tiny I got to squint through my glasses to iron. I don't hate much in life, but me and that dress is not on good terms.”Aibileen Clark
“That's what I love about Aibileen, she can take the most complicated things in life and wrap them up so small and simple, they'll fit right in your pocket.”Minny Jackson
“All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.”Aibileen Clark
“He's crying. She's crying. We are three fools in the dining room crying.”Minny Jackson
“But the dichotomy of love and hate living side-by-side is what surprises me.”Skeeter Phelan
“I can't help but notice, she stands a little taller in her own house.”Skeeter Phelan
“We living in hell, we trapped. Our kids is trapped.”Minny Jackson
“My exclusion is tangible, as if concrete walls have formed around me.”Skeeter Phelan
“Who knew paper and ink could be so vicious.”Skeeter Phelan
“I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.”Skeeter Phelan
“I put the iron down real slow, feel that bitter seed grow in my chest, the one planted after Treelore died. My face goes hot, my tongue twitchy. I don’t know what to say to her. All I know is, I ain’t saying it. And I know she ain’t saying what she want a say either and it’s a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still still managing to have us a conversation.”Aibileen Clark
“But Lou Anne, she understood the point of the book before she ever read it. The one who was missing the point this time was me.”Skeeter Phelan
“You listen to me, Miss Skeeter. I'm on take care a Aibileen and she gone take care a me. But you got nothing left here but enemies in the Junior League and a mama that's gone drive you to drink. You done burned ever bridge there is. And you ain't never gone get another boyfriend in this town and everbody know it. So don't walk your white butt to New York, run it.”Minny Jackson
“Cause that's the way prayer do. It's like electricity, it keeps things going.”Aibileen Clark
“Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you one of them people?”Constantine
“I turn back to my dough so she can't see my face. Twice in a minute she's managed to irritate me. "Anything else you want Mister Johnny to think you did?"”Minny Jackson
“"So you saying they ain't no line between the help and the boss either?"Aibileen shakes her head. "They's just positions, like on a checkerboard. Who work for who don't mean nothing.""So I ain't crossing no line if I tell Miss Celia the truth, that she ain't good enough for Hilly?" I pick my cup up. I'm trying hard to get this, but my cut's thumping against my brain. "But wait, if I tell her Miss Hilly's out a her league . . . then ain't I saying they is a line?"Aibileen laughs. She pats my hand. "All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries."”
“"You and the kids want a come stay with me?""No." I untack the bandage, slip it back in my pocket. "I want him to see me," I say, staring down at my empty coffee cup. "See what he done to his wife.""Call me on the phone if he gets rough. You hear me?""I don't need no phone. You'll hear him screaming for mercy all the way over here."”
“"I can't put it in the book," I tell her. "About Mother and Constantine. I'll end it when I go to college. I just . . .""Miss Skeeter--""I know I should. I know I should be sacrificing as much as you and Minny and all of you. But I can't do that to my mother.""No one expects you to, Miss Skeeter. Truth is, I wouldn't think real high a you if you did."”
“"You cannot leave a Negro and a Nigra together unchaperoned," Mother'd whispered to me, a long time ago. "It's not their fault, they just can't help it."”
“I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain't a color, disease ain't the Negro side a town. I want to stop that moment from coming--and it come in ever white child's life--when they start to think that colored folks ain't as good as whites.”Aibileen Clark
“"I watched them try to integrate your bus station on the news," Missus Stein continued. "They jammed fifty-five Negroes in a jail cell built for four."”
“I've never even sat at the same table with a Negro who wasn't paid to do so.”Skeeter Phelan
“My father clears his throat. "I'll be honest," he says slowly. "It makes me sick to hear about that kind of brutality." Daddy sets his fork down silently. He looks Senator Whitworth in the eye. "I've got twenty-five Negroes working my fields and if anyone so much as laid a hand on them, or any of their families . . ." Daddy's gaze is steady. Then he drops his eyes. "I'm ashamed, sometimes, Senator. Ashamed of what goes on in Mississippi."”
“Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.”Elaine Stein
“But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.”Miss Skeeter
“They say it's like true love, good help. You only get one in a life time.”Mrs. Phelan
“You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”Highlighted by 1790 Kindle customers
“Ugly live up on the inside. Ugly be a hurtful, mean person. Is you one a them peoples?”Highlighted by 1771 Kindle customers
Cause that’s the way prayer do. It’s like electricity, it keeps things going.Highlighted by 1516 Kindle customers
Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.Highlighted by 1417 Kindle customers
I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.Highlighted by 1162 Kindle customers
All my life I’d been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine’s thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe.Highlighted by 1074 Kindle customers
All I know is, I ain’t saying it. And I know she ain’t saying what she want a say either and it’s a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation.Highlighted by 1036 Kindle customers
I was surprise to see the world didn’t stop just cause my boy did.Highlighted by 1023 Kindle customers
They ain’t rich folk, that I know. Rich folk don’t try so hard.Highlighted by 550 Kindle customers
degustationary compliments. Mother views this supper as an important move in the game called “Can My Daughter Catch Your Son?”Highlighted by 284 Kindle customers
Chapter 1 - August 1962
Too little, Too late
About the author
Young adults with the caveat to enter in discussions with groups of different races and age groups. Think about stereotyping when reading this book and enjoy it for the stories. A history explanation may be needed if a young adult does not understand the dynamics of the events in the book. It has some language in it, but it is important to discuss the issues of the past as they still linger in the present.
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