I REALLY enjoyed this book! My book club read it this month, and it was unanimously appreciated by all.
The story takes place in Mississippi in 1962. Three very different and determined women, form a bond while working on a "secret project" that puts them all at great risk.
Skeeter, recently graduated from college, is a young white woman trying to launch her career as a writer. An NYC editor advises her to write about something that disturbs her. Skeeter's country club, Junior League friends all have black maids who raise their kids, but are not allowed to use their employers' bathrooms. She begins secretly interviewing "the help" and learning about some of the secrets in her friends families.
Aibileen is a black maid who loves the white babies she mothers, and has lost her own son. She works for one of Skeeter's friends who can't be bothered with her own daughter, but enforces the "rules of society" of the times in the south.
Minny is a sassy black woman who loses jobs because she talks back and speaks her mind when pushed. She is Aibileen's best friend, and finally finds a new position working for a family with secrets of their own.
These women, living in a segregated south, during the 60's cross boundaries that will change their town. Together, they write a book from the maids' point of view, and "tell it all". They are funny, loving, courageous women who live with fear, but still have hope that things could change.
Having grown up in California, I was fascinated and horrified that this could have still been happening during my lifetime! I was immediately hooked, and found the story shocking, heartbreaking, humorous and important. The book is historically accurate, and reminds us of the theme of intolerence, which is still alive fifty years later. If you have a book club, this is a great choice!