Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Help
Stuart, surprised to learn she is a social justice warrior, dumps her immediately, saying bye-bye. It's kind of funny how Stuart has dumped Skeeter twice and she kept accepting him back and now he's dumped her a third time! But this time he doesn't come back.
Skeeter's book comes out and becomes much talked about and Miss Hilly realizes that despite the changed names, the book is really about them. Realizing that Aibileen contributed to the book, she gets Aibileen in trouble. She falsely claims that Aibileen stole some silver. Mrs. Leefort agrees to fire her and Miss Hilly plans to also call the police.
But then Aibileen tells Miss Hilly if she does that, Aibileen will reveal to everyone that Miss Hilly ate two slices of Minny shit pie, which will humiliate her. Miss Hilly agrees not to press charges.
But Aibileen is out of a job and ends the book unemployed. Also Miss Hilly gets Minny's husband Leroy fired to get back at Minny. Minny realizes she will have to run away from Leroy or else he will beat her up.
Skeeter gets a glamorous editing job in New York and heads off, leaving Aibileen's and Minny's wrecked lives behind her.
The main story is about how a book about mistreated black maids would change everything in Jackson, Mississippi. It didn't. We are given two anecdotes of how two housewives started a dialogue with their maids. That's it. That's the entire effect of this book within a book. That's pretty meaningless. And if the effect of the book within the book was meaningless, what was the whole point of this book? It's hard to find one.
Nothing much happens in this book. It feels like a series of small chopped up anecdotes of how poorly treated black women maids are treated. I got that in the first 100 pages. What were the other 300 pages for? It's funny because Skeeter talked constantly about her "book" she was writing, but we never got to read anything about what was in her book. It felt like beyond the general "black maids are treated badly" theme, there wasn't enough specific material to fill this book. The author tried to augment the book with the story of Skeeter's failed romance, which ended up going nowhere and also felt pointless.
The two big teases of the story was "Why did Constantine disappear" and "will they discover the book is about us?" The Constantine story was a big disappointment. It wasn't nearly shocking enough to have much dramatic effect. Constantine left because her daughter was insulted. So?
And the "will they discover the book is about us" plot dragged on too long and also ended without much effect.
If the author wanted more drama, she should have raised the stakes. Show a maid having an affair with a white husband and constantly explore the fear and consequences of discovery. Show a maid secretly running a business or a thieving organization and show the maid building it up and fearing discovery. Show a child secretly fathered by a white man and show what happens when it is discovered.
We got none of that. It was a sleepy book.
And finally Skeeter was unsympathetic. She wrote a book that anyone with a brain would know would harm the black maids when they were discovered to be the source of the material for the book. Skeeter just wanted to write something, anything, to get attention as a writer and to launch her writing career, and she did, walking over the broken lives of Aibileen and Minny to get it.