This is the story of three unforgettable women who strive for change in America. It takes place in 1962, Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.
Aibileen is a black maid, raising her seventeenth white child. She also does the cooking, cleaning, and ironing for a mere $43 a week from 8-4, six days a week. She is a lovable character, devoted to the child she is raising, and an honest and proud lady. Looking after baby Mae Mobley is a distraction and a help in overcoming the sadness she feels after losing her son Treelore. What boggles her mind is that she can raise white children but she cannot use her employer's bathroom.
Minnie, Aibileen's best friend, also a black maid is a sassy one. She is short and stocky, but the one problem she has is that she can't hold her tongue. She is known throughout for being a great cook, but because of her loose tongue, she loses one job after another. However, her best friend Aibileen gets her a job with a newcomer, Celia Foote,a poor country girl who has married a wealthy man and has never had a maid. Minnie goes for the job interview and gets the job providing she keeps the job a secret. Mrs. Celia Foote doesn't want her husband to know and wants her husband to think that she is doing all the work by herself. Minnie doesn't like the idea but goes along with it until........
Miss Skeeter, a 22 year old white socialite, has just returned home from College, Ole Miss,with her degree and a need to write. Her mother makes nothing of her degree and is only interested in seeing Skeeter married. Miss Skeeter has plans of her own and has applied for an editing position at Harper and Row Publishers. She receives a letter from Elaine Stein, Senior Editor, with a couple of suggestions. Firstly, to be in the business of writing she would need a minimum of five years experience. Secondly, she tells Skeeter to write about what disturbs her, particularly if it bothers no one else. Skeeter gets a job with the Jackson Journal and her writing begins.
Miss Skeeter decides that she is going to write about what it's like to be a black maid in a white home. To do so, she goes directly to the black maids themselves and promises them she won't reveal their names, because they are fearful of losing their jobs and under those conditions they agree. Word gets around and very soon other black maids come forth to tell their stories and a story is in the making.
Kathryn Stockett's writing is so refreshing and humourous, but at the same time she gets her point across on the evil of Racism. She has a talent for capturing the way Aibileen and Minnie would speak in comparison with the well educated Miss Skeeter.
This book will fill you with sadness, anger, frustration as well as Hope for a better life.