The Help, Kathryn Stockett
originally published in 2009
My friend Jillian has a great library system. I do not. She helps me out by reading voraciously and then passing on the good ones to me. I never would have read The Help if she hadn't given it to me.
The story is set in the late 1950s early 1960s in the south. The help referred to are the black women who clean the houses and raise the children of southern white women. One of these women, unmarried after college, begins to question the system that she grew up under and decides to write a book about it. She enlists the help of one of her friend's maid and she brings more maids to tell their stories.
There's back biting, in-fighting, and cattiness enough for anyone who loves that sort of thing (Bunko party, anyone?). What surprised me was how anxious I was for the characters. They had to keep their meeting and story writing secret and I was turning pages faster and faster as I expected someone to come busting in at an inconvenient moment.
I read it on a business trip - it was perfect airplane and hotel reading.