Rating: 4 moons
“We are just two people. Not that much seperates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”
I had been wanting to read this novel for a while, since seeing the film adaptation. I’m usually one of those people who refuse to watch a film until I’ve read the book it was adapted from, but on this occasion I made an exception and I’m very glad that I did go back to read Kathryn Stockett’s novel afterwards (even if it took me a while!).
Set during the start of the Civil Rights movement, the book is narrated from three perspectives: Aibleen, Minny and Skeeter. I always enjoy reading books which switch between viewpoints as I feel like it gives me a lot more insight in to the characters mindsets and allows me to become more involved in the story.
Aibleen is an older maid who has worked for white families since she was young. She is currently working for Miss Elizabeth Leefolt and looking after young Mae Mobley. Aibleen’s chapters are based a lot around her relationship with Mae Mobley and what it’s like to raise a white child. The attachment Mae Mobley has to Aibleen is really heartwarming and their relationship was so sweet to read about.
Minny is a younger maid with a sassy mouth which leads to her getting fired by Hilly Holbrook, Miss Leefolt’s best friend and the town’s most influential woman. After Minny is hired by Celia Foote, who has no experience as an employer, she has to teach her the appropriate ways to behave around a black maid. I found their developing friendship great to read about and Celia’s character was really refreshing in comparison to the likes of Miss Holbrook and Miss Leefolt.
Miss Skeeter is a young white woman who has recently returned from college, she is different from her friends in that she is not as interested in finding a husband and starting a family and wants to become a writer. It is due to her love for her maid Constantine, who has mysteriously left her home while she was at college, that she is inspired to write about the lives of black maid’s in Mississippi. She wants to include the real experiences of the house maids in her work and her passion and persistence leads her to Aibleen and Minny.
There is so much more to this book than meets the eye and the characters really are the heart and soul of the story. The characterisation of the three main women and all of those surrounding their story is brilliant, and Kathryn Stockett did a great job of exploring each character’s life and outlook. Some parts left me laughing, others made me tear up and parts just made me mad but I would recommend this book to anyone!