The impetus for reading this was to attend Kathy's book club while we are visiting Seattle next week. The story is told through three different voices: Aibileen, the wise, literate, loving caretaker; Skeeter, the misfit white writer; and Minny, the rebellious difficult worker, who could get work because she was such a wonderful cook.
Set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, this book tells the story of the transformation of Skeeter from a daughter of the South to a person willing to cut the ties with all her friends to tell the story of the complicated interactions between the black women working in white homes and the women they work for. Aibileen is willing from the outset to undertake the telling of this story despite the dangers to herself and others and works tirelessly to make this happen. Minny is a prickly one who eventually is willing to take the greatest danger upon herself. The upheavals of the time -- the killing of the civil rights workers and the bombing of the church which killed the four little girls -- were a rumble in the distance which served to make the women very nervous.
The ultimate humiliation of the worst character, Miss Hilly, was satisfying. Miss Hilly would stop at nothing to defeat anyone who crossed her; her campaign to encourage families to install a bathroom to be used by the help was her hallmark.