As is my new habit, I checked out an audio copy from the library of a book that has been sitting on my shelves for months. While listening to this book, the tension was building and the readers were too slow (Southern accents, you know) and I would drop what I was doing, pick up the book and read ahead. This happened several times and I didn’t even listen to the end of the last disc. I read it.
1962 – 1964 Jackson, Mississippi. Miss Skeeter, a young recent graduate is back home, bored and restless. Her high school friends are married, with young children and upwardly mobile husbands. Bridge club, ladies’ league, blahblahblah.
Aibeleen is a maid for one of those friends. Minny is a maid with the local social outcast. The three of them team up to write a book telling the “stories” of twelve maids. How Skeeter came up with the idea, how she convinced Aibileen to help her and how and why Minny rallied the other ladies in the community around them. And the fallout.
It was like Mean Girls meets Upstairs, Downstairs set in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. It was about the extremely unique and complicated relationships between the black ladies in the South and the white families whose homes and children they cared for. But even beyond the racial commentary and the social class commentary, it said something pretty serious about the way women treat each other.
This is the best book I have read since..since..The Killer Angels.