This is not just a good book, it is a great book, but even more, it is an important book.
Kathreen Stockett tells the story of three courageous women, who fight racism and hypocrisy in their own way. In the 60s, when the young generation tried to change the world and the Civil Rights movement gained momentum in the US, time seemed to be at a standstill in Mississippi. In the South, segregation of the races was defended and maintained and in its cruelty, it was not much different from the Apartheid in South Africa.
Skeeter, a young woman, home from college and without a real job and the black servants Abileen and Minny have a plan, they want to tell the story of black maids, raising the children of white women. An endeavor, which has to be kept in complete secrecy, because the risk is incredibly high. It is not just the social shunning, their lives might be at risk.
The stories, the maids have to tell, make you laugh and cry. There is incredible arrogance, cruelty and hypocrisy, but there is also love, tenderness and compassion. There is no false romanticism or beautifying, but when you watch the love and devotion, the black maids give to their little white children, you will be deeply moved.
Kathreen Stockett has the right touch, when she describes the relationship between the white Skeeter and the black Abileen and Minny. There is initial distrust and caution, but over time, real friendship and respect grows between them.
The speakers do an outstanding job. They add so much color to the characters, you sooner or later think, you know all the maids personally.
The book is honest and sincere. Perhaps it is not a literary masterpiece, but it is the best book I read in a long time.