Order This Book OnlineThe Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a fine story about a split community in Jackson, Mississippi during the civil rights movement. One part of the community comprises the white families, focusing mainly on wives and mothers. The other part comprises the much poorer black families, and focuses on the women who work as maids in the white households, keeping house and minding (or, usually, raising) the children. Given the subject matter, the story was not edgy and only vaguely uncomfortable — I think it’s meant to be a feel good novel — one white woman works with the maids to effect a small but valuable change in the community, and the future looks brighter by the novel’s end. I would say that this is a gentle story of courage and hope.

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