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 writing led me to feel a connection with these character that I could imagine as real.
The narrative begins from the perspective of Aibileen, an older maid who is essentially raising the child of Mister and Misses Leefolt. Aibileen is not appreciated as an intelligent person but is seen solely as help for around the house. As the story progresses, more perspectives are introduced. The plot progresses with the meeting of Aibileen and Miss Skeeter-- a white woman who just has graduated college and aspires to be a reporter. Miss Skeeter wants to record and publish Aibileen and her friends's stories but this puts them all in great danger of being found out. Slowly, the women reveal their stories but this plot has many side stories that are revealed as each woman's life is exposed. Each perspective has a distinct voice and a story that defines her voice. I found this book to be very enlightening, as well as historically relevant.
The Help surprises the reader all the way to the end. This debut book was beautifully written and I look forward to any of Kathryn Stockett's future books. I give this book the highest recommendation possible.
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 … more
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. … more
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 … more
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 … more
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.
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 … more
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 … more