Set in Jackson, a small town in Mississippi of the 1960s, the story follows Skeeter, a young girl who just came back from college determined to become an author. However, as soon as she comes back she slowly realises the racism against the coloured domestic help and comes up with an idea: to write a book which is a collection of the experiences of several coloured maids.
Of course, this was easier said than done. She had to confront her supposed best friend, Holly, who is basically the female version of the Devil, her boyfriend who cannot understand why she would take such a risk and thus leaves her, her conservative mother who is dismissive of her aspirations to write, but most importantly she had to confront isolation and disappointment as she was abandoned by the people closer to her.
Written with sensitivity, honesty and humour, Stockett captures the essence of human relationships and their complications, as well as the contemporary racial prejudices - and pushes for them to change. The book is written from three perspectives, Skeeter's, Aibeleen's, the first maid who decides to write her story for Skeeter, and sassy Minny, another maid who also one of Hilly's sworn enemies after the Terrible Awful Thing she had done to her.
It is not like any other book I read before, yet I would easily give it a 10/10. You might need some time adjusting to the slang, but when you do, you won't be able to put it down, I promise!
PS: It has recently been made into a film, but I always recommend to read the book first and then watch the movie, because when I do it the other way round it always ends up in disappointment!