Late to the party as per usual. But I read the book.
It is easily one of the best books I have ever read.
I was stunned that this happened so recently in history. I mean, I know about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King etc, and I am cerebrally aware of the dates related to such, but reading about characters and lives made it much more personal to me.
Additionally, given the time period, if we had lived in the south my family easily could have been one of the families employing a maid. My sister and brother could have been raised one one. It is purely an accident of latitude that we were not such a family.
It is shocking that people could be so mean and cruel to another person, and that the very person-hood of African American people was called into question. It really showed me how little I understand of it. How little I know. It is easy for a white person like me to sit there and say that racism is no longer such an issue. It is easy for me to say "It was so long ago" but its not. It was the 1960's way too recent. It showed me a glimpse of 'white privilege'.
I understand that many critics took issue with the stories told in the book, that it glosses over some of the truly horrendous things that these people endured. Maybe so. Probably so. But it is a first step to opening a dialog and reminding people that this is still a huge issue. That it is not 'so long ago'.
In my opinion the heroine in the story isn't mainly, or only, Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny, the women who called attention to the circumstances, who literally risked their lives to tell their stories.
I would love to learn more about the topic. Most of all I am so proud to look at how far our country has come since the 1960s, yet there is still more work to be done.