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Forest Hill Reading Group News

It was a ‘thumbs up’ all round for March’s chosen book, Kathryn Stockett’s first novel, The Help.

Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 the novel is narrated by three women: Aibileen and Minny are both black maids working for ladies from the cream of white society, while Miss Skeeter is the 23-year-old daughter of one of those pillars of the community. Aibileen has raised 17 white children, but her own son has been recently killed in an accident at a lumber yard; Minny is forever losing jobs because she talks back to her employers; and Miss Skeeter, so called because she looked like a mosquito when she was born, is ungainly and unmarried and seemingly the only one of her class able to see there might be something unjust about their society.

Each of the many relationships between the large cast of characters is perfectly captured, and there is layer after layer of irony to excavate when Stockett describes the lives of the society women of Jackson. But most impressive – and attractive – is the blend of rage and humour with which she writes and that is what makes this novel at once so horrifying yet so savagely funny.

Comments from reading group members include:

“interesting, informative and well worth the read”.

“to be recommended”

” I throughly enjoyed this book. Humour, anger, truth, tension…. Brillant differentiation of characters. I thought the politics subtle in that they were simply a part of the story, but for me, who lived through the deaths of Martin Luther King and Kennedy it was shocking to hear about these events from a different viewpoint…. Like racism here, it may have changed and softened but has not yet gone away; will it ever?”

Read what the Blackheath and Manor House reading groups said about The Help, or a review by one of our bloggers.

May’s chosen novel is The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Tuesday 10 May 2011, 6.30-7.30pm
Forest Hill Library

Have you read this book? Let us know your thoughts.

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