Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 is a turbulent time and place for a friendship between two middle-aged black maids and a young white college graduate aspiring to become a writer. Aibileen and Minny risk it all to help Skeeter write a candid collection of stories of the relationships between the black help and the white women, who entrust their children in their care, but do not let them use the bathroom in their homes.
Typical of the ideology of the young, Skitter is oblivious of the racial tensions that are growing around her or how she is putting these women in peril to write her book. Her eyes are opened, along with the reader, as she becomes intimately involved with their lives.
The characters come to life as they reveal their most personal relationships with the children and the elite white families they serve. Aibileen has raised 17 white children and instilled a grace and confidence in them theycould receive from their own mothers. Minny cannot hold her tongue, or her jobs, because of her outspoken nature.
Each woman takes a turn at narrating and you will embrace them like good friends each time they speak. If you are a baby boomer, the book will make you think back to where you were during those years of the early civil rights movement, when separate drinking fountains and restrooms were the norm for the south. If you are the children of that generation, you may learn things that you never knew existed in America. It’s about love and hate, dignity and humility, courage and fear. Although fiction, this book takes this time of social change out of the history books and into your lap. It is a great book for book club discussions.
Joanne Tailele has been a full time resident of Marco Island for two years. Born in Youngstown, her last “home” for 12 years was Columbus, Ohio. Between Joanne and her husband, she has six children and nine grandchildren. She works as receptionist for a local real estate company.