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The Help

A book by Kathryn Stockett.

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Despite reservations, The Help's story has stuck with me

  • Jul 12, 2010
Rating:
+4

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. The characters are strong and endearing - even those who are easy to hate - and Stockett knows how to tell a story. The book reminded me that change happens incrementally and inspired me never to give up on what I know is right, even if my efforts might seem small.

What I particularly loved about the characters is that none is one-sided. None of us are completely good or bad, and it drives me nuts when characters in books or movies are portrayed as if they are all one or the other. Plus, in this book, we get to see many of the characters change throughout the book as they are exposed to another way of life.

"The Help" is a good primer for those who may not be super familiar with the Civil Rights movement, and great all-around story for everyone. The book looks large, but it's a quick read. And I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend after I read it - I miss it terribly!

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.






 

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November 17, 2011
Great review :) My mom had the same reservations as you did and was often bothered by the speech patterns of the black characters. I wasn't as much. But, she got over it enough to quickly read the whole thing and pass it on to me. That's saying a lot for a woman who isn't known as reading anything for pleasure.
 
February 27, 2011
good job
 
1
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 . 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.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
not a fan
About the reviewer
Megan Vaughn ()
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Member Since: Jul 12, 2010
Last Login: Jul 29, 2010 10:57 PM UTC
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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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