By Kathryn Stockett
In 1962, 22-year-old Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan returns home to Jackson, Miss., after graduating from Ole Miss only to find that her mother refuses to be sated because she lacks a boyfriend and, more importantly, an engagement ring. On top of that, she no longer fits in with her childhood friends Hilly and Elizabeth, despite her best efforts to participate in their weekly bridge game and edit the Junior League newsletter.
Ordinarily she would solicit comfort and wisdom from her childhood maid, Constantine, but she disappeared while Skeeter was in her final semester at Ole Miss and no one will tell her what transpired.
Despite Skeeter’s desire to satisfy everyone, she must admit that her life is flawed. After receiving some advice from an editor in New York City, she endeavors to write a book about the lives of African-American maids in Jackson.
In researching the book, she secretly collaborates with two maids: Aibileen, a strong-willed maid who is raising her 17th white child and is doing her best to hold it together since her son died in a tragic workplace accident, and Minny, a sassy, to-die-for cook, who cannot hold a job because she is always running off at the mouth to her white employers.
The three seemingly different women have no idea how their courageous partnership will alter their lives and their community.
Kathryn Stockett is an extraordinary storyteller whose debut novel begs to be opened. Through the voices of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, readers will find themselves transported to the segregated South during the beginning stages of the civil rights movement and will be turning pages long into the night. Stockett’s theme may be familiar, but thanks to her commendable job of bringing history and characters to life, this book is a standout.
By Tatiana de Rosnay
In 1942, when the French police come to arrest 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski’s family, she locks her 4-year-old brother Michael in a secret cupboard thinking that he will be safe.
Little does she know that the French police are collaborating with the Nazis and that she, her parents and thousands of Jewish families are going to be detained in the Vélodrome d’Hiver for days without food, water or medical attention. Later, they will be transported to concentration camps outside Paris.
Sixty years later, 45-year-old American journalist Julia Jarmond is assigned a magazine article about the commemoration of the anniversary. Though she has lived in France for nearly 25 years, has a French husband and an 11-year-old daughter, she is unfamiliar with the event.
She is appalled at her own ignorance and immediately begins researching the event. In her research, she makes a discovery that causes her to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
In this fictionalized account of an event that is virtually unknown to Americans, author Tatiana De Rosnay does an extraordinary job captivating the reader. Her use of alternating chapters, told from Julia’s and Sarah’s viewpoints, is brilliant and makes this a hard book to stop reading.
Jeana Gockley is the children’s librarian at Joplin Public Library.
- Globe Life
Prototype of a drying rack for Stars of Hope earns award, emotional response
Ryan Richardson: Groups give tips for preventing dog bites
When I was a teenager in the '90s I had an unfortunate incident with my neighbor's dog, a Brittany, that I had grown up with. It took a chunk out of my thigh when I went into the neighbors' yard to retrieve a ball.
Frankie Meyer: Information is only as good as its source
Those details later become crucial as contradictory information is found, which it will be. How can one decide which detail is correct if the sources of the details are unknown?
Jeana Gockley: Library lines up reading club books
The Joplin Public Library's annual Summer Reading Club kicks off on Tuesday, May 28, so in preparation for a great summer of reading, I have been digging for titles that fit with this year's "Dig Into Reading" theme.
Frankie Meyer: Prepare for holiday visits to cemeteries
Memorial Day weekend is the ideal time to not only decorate the graves of loved ones, but also learn the location of unmarked graves -- and learn about relatives who are buried nearby. That weekend is also a great time to contact living relatives.
Patty Crane: Mystery series should appeal to Reacher fans
In the novel "Taken" by Robert Crais, a bajadores is a predator that kidnaps people being smuggled into the country. The bajadores, the Syrian, demands ransom from families of the people he kidnaps. His ransom demands are low, and as long as the families pay, the demands continue.
Ryan Richardson: Harness works better than a leash
This is the time of year to take your dog outside to enjoy the weather. You both get exercise, you bond more, and it gives you an opportunity to work together as a team. I take my dog out as much as I can, and my dog is happy to see other dogs when we go on walks.
Mutual admiration: Academic Team members thank teachers for inspiration, drive
Members of The Joplin Globe's All-Area Academic Excellence Team thanked teachers for inspiring them to push themselves during a recognition banquet Monday at Missouri Southern State University.
Linda Cannon: Book covers subtleties' effects on humans
I'm always a sucker for books on what makes people tick, so I grabbed "Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave" by Adam Alter as soon as I saw it. Alter holds a Ph.D. in applied psychology from Princeton and is an assistant professor at NYU.
Frankie Meyer: Old home sites treasures to discover
We genealogists do a similar activity as part of our research. The treasures that we seek are old home sites. Instead of using GPS coordinates, we use clues such as the presence of rusted metal, cellar holes and vintage plants.
- More Globe Life Headlines
- Prototype of a drying rack for Stars of Hope earns award, emotional response