February 23, 2009 12:00 PM

by Kathryn Stockett |

REVIEWED BY VICK BOUGHTON

NOVEL

In early-’60s Jackson, Miss., where this wise, poignant first novel takes place, Jim Crow laws allowed whites to insist that their black maids use only designated bathrooms as they labored long hours in their employers’ homes. Imagine the fireworks, then, when two housekeepers and an unlikely ally, a white Junior Leaguer, write a book about maids’ lives. Their efforts shake up the city’s pernicious social hierarchy, and their own lives change forever. You’ll catch yourself cheering out loud.

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