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The Help

A book by Kathryn Stockett.

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HATED TO SEE IT END......!!!

  • Feb 16, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
An awesome portrayal of the incredibly complex dynamic between the "colored help" or domestics, and their White employers. Set in the town of Jackson, Mississippi in the 60s, the novel revolves around the lives of three women--Minny, Abilene, and Miss Skeeter. Minny and Abilene are both "Negro" women who serve as domestics for their White counterparts. Miss Skeeter is friendly with the women for whom Abilene and Minnie work.

Abilene has been serving the Leefolt family for several years, practically raising their daughter, young Mae Mobley, as her own. Her contempt for her employers and their activities is equaled only by her love for their children..with her biggest fear that young Mae will one day be like them. But when the Leefolts install a bathroom just for Abilene--at the urging of one of the town's most influential women, Hilly Holbrook--to avoid contracting "Negro diseases," it may be the one indignity that encourages Abilene to no longer endure her slights silently.

Minnie has always had a big mouth...and her mouth and/or actions have always gotten her into trouble. And it is for this reason that Minnie is once again seeking employment...at quite possibly the only place in town that will hire her; simply because they don't know any better. Although nice enough, Minnie considers her new employer dim-witted, a social pariah, and lacking the gentility necessary to ever "fit in" with the White women of Jackson. She also appears to have a drinking problem...or so it would appear to Minnie. Often, however, things are not exactly how they seem to be....

Miss Skeeter, although White, is not quite one of "them". She treats the help as people, uses her good manners with them as she would with anyone else, and often shows distaste for the racist actions and behavior of her friends. But it is not until Miss Skeeter asks Abilene how she "feels" about the new bathroom built for her by the Leefolts, that a Pandora's box is opened...one that will represent an unloading of decades of social slights and injustices for some, and the realization of a dream for others. And for Jackson, Mississippi, a new day may soon be dawning.

A tale told with such eloquence that one is drawn in from the very beginning. I was loathe to put the book down; intrigued until the very end, where I continued to be captivated by the author and her need to write the book. A beautiful thing.


DYB

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More The Help reviews
review by . July 15, 2012
I am a white man who has never lived in Mississippi and would have been the age of little Mae Mobley at the time period covered in the book. But to dismiss this as a "woman's book" or in any other way attempt to excuse myself from reading would have been unacceptable.      By now everyone who wants has read the book or seen the excellent movie version of it, which was nominated for several Academy Awards, winning Octavia Spencer the award for Actress in a Supporting …
review by . July 12, 2010
My book group chose to read Kathryn Stockett's "The Help," and I was a little apprehensive when I started reading. The author is a white and writes in the voices of two black women, which made me uncomfortable. (How am I to know if the characters are authentic? The author has never been in those characters' shoes.) Plus, I thought the subject had been done before.      But apprehensions aside, I was blown away by the story. It is engaging and thought-provoking. …
review by . May 16, 2010
The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early sixties, and narrated by three women: Aibileen is an older housemaid who has raised seventeen white children, Minny is a younger domestic with a hot temper, and Skeeter is a wealthy, white, college graduate who has just returned home to her critical mother.       The story starts off as a look at bored, rich women with nothing better to do than gossip about each other while being insensitive if not downright cruel to "the …
review by . July 09, 2010
On recommendation by the book club to which I belong, I opened the cover of The Help, Kathryn Stockett's debut novel and one which has garnered a great deal of attention--including well over 2,000 reviews on Amazon and counting fast. Indeed, a second review appears on The Smoking Poet, a literary ezine I manage, written by Jeanette Lee, which pretty much sums up all that, to my mind, needs be said.     I add, then, my personal opinion. First impression: yikes. I read a few sentences …
review by . July 04, 2010
The Help by Kathryn Stockett is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The book is set in the Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s. The book follows the stories of several African American maids working in the homes of wealthy white women. It is written in multi-perspective narrative form. I picked up this book because it was recommended to me by a friend and was not disappointed by the recommendation. From the first page, I was hooked to the unique style of writing. Kathryn Stockett's …
Quick Tip by . January 27, 2011
Intriguing and addictive read about African American maids in the south in the 1960's. The change in perspectives gave this novel great suspense.  My only complaint is that I would have liked a chapter in the voice of Hilly or Celia - the most intriguing characters IMO.
review by . July 06, 2010
I loved this book- the story and the characters and the writing- and here's why: The main story here- of the women who nanny and clean the house, their backgrounds and how they relate to one another- is a solid one and written well enough to be its own book.  But the secondary story is even better.  It's a story of what happens when people cross party lines and create something unique together.  I was reading the book and feeling very involved when, wham!, this second story …
review by . June 20, 2010
The Help is a page-turning story that takes place in Jacksonville, Miss in the pre-civil rights 1960's about the segregated relationships between the wealthy white land-owners and their hired black help. Narrated by one wealthy white woman, Skeeter and two maids; hot headed-genius in the kitchen, Minny, and aging benevolent, Abilene.      Skeeter returns from graduating college back home to Jacksonville where she will see through the inequities between employers and the help …
Quick Tip by . July 08, 2010
Strong book. For anyone who has never lived in the south or experienced discrimination this is a must read.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
Loved this book! Smart and humorous despite the serious topic.
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Dana Y Bowles ()
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Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.(Feb.)
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Details

ISBN-10: 0399155341
ISBN-13: 978-0399155345
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
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