A Lunch Community
The Help

A book by Kathryn Stockett.

< read all 25 reviews

One of the Best Books I've Read

  • Feb 10, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
This book is well-written on so many levels. It's one of the books about which I want to simply say, "Read it. Trust me -- just read it." But I'll try to be more specific. The story is clearly told using alternating points of view (which is a device that I love but is sometimes poorly done). Since two of the three narrators are Black maids living in Mississippi in 1962, they speak in dialect. I have recently realized that I do NOT like reading novels written with too much dialect, but author Kathryn Stockett solved the problem. Instead of a lot of apostrophes and whatnot, she simply wrote the speech out phonetically, so it was readable. It's hard to explain, but if like me you struggle with reading dialect, even if you like the local flavor it creates, trust me that Stockett has done it right.

The characters are so well-written. I grew to love the three main characters and to feel a kinship with them even though my own life and experience couldn't be further away from theirs:

* Skeeter is in her early twenties. She returned home after college and now spends her time writing the Junior League newsletter and playing bridge with her high school friends who are now wives and mothers because each dropped out of college once they got their M.R.S. degree.
* Minny is a maid whose good cooking trumps her quick temper (which caused her to lose a few jobs). She's closest to my age and yet the most different from me. The many challenges she has endured gives her a quiet strength and make this prickly woman one who I long to be able to hug (Am I weird? Does anyone else wish that they could hug characters who exist only on the page)?
* Aibileen displays courage and understanding and above all else -- love and forbearance. She's older, having raised a son of her own along with the seventeen white children she's raised. In spite of their age difference and difference in temperament, she and Minny are best friends.

The minor characters are fully developed as well. They lean a bit closer to stereotype, but Stockett avoids predictable stereotypes even for characters who are stereotypical (after all, we have stereotypes for a reason). They are complex and even though there are villains, they are not simply one-sided.

I have a feeling you are going to be seeing and hearing a lot about this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
3
Thought-Provoking
3
Fun to Read
3
Well-Organized
3
Post a Comment
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 …
Quick Tip by . September 18, 2012
So wonderful that it was made into a movie which I haven't seen. But the novel was beautiful!
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.
About the reviewer
Jennifer Donovan ()
   I am a freelance writer, contributing to Patch.com and 5minutesformom.com and managing 5minutesforbooks.com.      I absolutely love books. I love to learn from books, … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
Jenndon
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
view wiki

Details

ISBN-10: 0399155341
ISBN-13: 978-0399155345
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
First to Review
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
The catholic reader is part of the Lunch.com Network - Get this on your site
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists