As loathe as I am to jump on the bestseller bandwagon (and slow!), I have to admit that this book is deserving of its vast praise and popularity.
I kept putting off reading this because in my head I somehow pictured a dire and depressing depiction of the American south in the 1960's, and I don't do well with dire and depressing. But the beauty of this book is that Stockett brings a light and almost joyful touch when telling the stories of these three women. The author is respectful and honest, but the sheer charm of the characters refuse to allow dark clouds to descend upon the story.
The characters, from the persevering maid Aibileen to the unbelievably arrogant Hilly, are beautifully drawn as well as realistic. Each has their own set of flaws and talents, and the most fun of the book comes from experiencing the story through the alternating voices of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Stockett does an expert job detailing the experience of a black maid in the 1960's, their voices are tough, courageous, but at the same time likeable and funny. The characters are the most memorable I've read in a bestseller in a very long time!
If you haven't yet read this book then I would definitely recommend it for a charming read with a great story that will probably make you laugh and cry. And you've got to admit that it gives you hope for the future when a bestseller doesn't disappoint!