I first heard of this book when I was in the car, and it was being read on Radio 4 about a year ago. I only heard one chapter though, and I didn’t actually realise this was the book until I started reading it.
This was so carefully written and the characters were so fantastically drawn that I felt that the author was really basing them on people that she knew. After seeing an interview with her, I’m wondering if perhaps she was Baby Girl, Moe Mobley.
The story is of three women in Jackson, Mississipi in the early 1960’s. It feels like another world and is slightly scary to think that it is set less than 50 years ago. Miss Skeeter is a white Jackson socialite who was brought up by her beloved black maid who went missing when she went to college. As a consequence of trying to find out what happened to her, she ends up speaking to two black maids, and with their help, putting together a book about what it is like to be a black maid working for a white household.
Of course, at this time, this was scandalous, dangerous and could have got all three of them into serious trouble – or worse!
I loved every moment of this book – right up until just a few pages from the end. I found the ending extremely disappointing. It felt as if the author hadn’t been quite sure what to do to bring a close to the story, and the passion had kind of tapered off.
Whereas I had been racing through the pages, completely drawn in by the scenes set before me, almost feeling like I was experiencing it for myself, the last 20 pages or so felt slapdash. Hurried together.
It was disappointing, but didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the majority of the book. I can see this easily being made into a film 🙂