Book Review

#22 Book Review

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

“Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.”

Genre: novel

It is really hard, if not almost impossible for the majority of us to imagine what means to be a black woman in the 1960s in Mississippi.

Kathryn Stockett, thanks to her personal experiences and her ability as a writer, created in such an outstanding way the story of three revolutionary women: Aibeleen, Minny and Skeeter.

These three women, whom Skeeter is the only white one, collect in a book the stories of a dozen of black women from Mississippi that like them (not like Skeeter, of course) work as servants in the houses of wealthy, rich white families, always in Mississippi.

I simply adore this book; it made me laugh and cry, and it transported me into its story, and I felt as if I was personally following the narrated events, as if I had the chance to walk through the streets of Jacksonville.

It is a kind of story that once finished leaves something to you, you feel richer – culturally reacher – than before.

It personally made me think about the importance of the word Freedom; it is an heavy word, I think it is misunderstood sometimes, as if we cannot completely see its relevance.

Freedom is not free, if you want it you must obtain it with blood and sacrifices, and nowadays it is taken for granted, maybe because in the Western part of the world things are better than before, for example, women can vote, work and decide what to do with their lives.

But, for me, things are not so good as they may appear; till there is injustice in any part of this world, we cannot take things for granted, not even freedom.

The absence of Freedom in the lives of the black women of this story is the most evident theme of the book, sure, but still talking about freedom, we should notice that also the white women of this book are not as free as they may appear.

Their lives are obviously far better than those of their servants, but they still miss something, they still miss some kind of freedom in their lives, because they are still attached to a sexist model of life, though they live in the ’60s and things are going to change.

The Help is like an open window to a pivotal part of human history, and it is our duty to read this book, because we must know what happened in the past, and in this case we are talking about a not so far away past.

It is disgusting to realise that, in those years, when my parents were born, there still were servants, and black people had no rights.

What is more astonishing, in my opinion, is that nowadays we still have to face with racism in our reality, as if human beings can’t live without hating one another.

I am so thankful to Kathryn Stockett to let me know people like Abeleen and Mindy, who taught me to be grateful to my life, and the culture in which I was born and I grew up, but they also taught me to remember that the luckiest people should feel the duty to help those who are unlucky, always.

We must contribute to create a world where Freedom, Equality, Fraternity, Respect and many other themes like these are not just simple words, but they are the pure and only essence of it.

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