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The Help [Hardcover]

Kathryn Stockett
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2009

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women— mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

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Product Description


The other side of Gone with the Wind - and just as unputdownable The Sunday Times A big, warm girlfriend of a book The Times Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird has changed lives. It's direct descendent The Help has the same potential ... an astonishing feat of accomplishment Daily Express Outstanding, immensely funny, very compelling, brilliant Daily Telegraph Immensely readable Observer Daring, vitally important and very courageous, I loved and admired The Help. Fantastic Marian Keyes --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Feb. 10 2009
I absolutely LOVED this book. Kathryn Stockett did an amazing job. I loved how the story was written from the perspectives of the different women. I enjoyed seeing the world through their very different eyes and watching them develop throughout the story. The beautifully descriptive writing drew me in and made me feel like I was right there. This is an intense story of how these different women deal with the issue of racism during the civil rights movement. It is a poignant and deeply moving novel. I didn't want the book to end. I think this book would make an amazing movie as well. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding novel! Aug. 18 2009
By GGi
This has become one of my favorite books. Growing up as a child of the 80's and 90's in Canada this book gave me a very real glimpse of racial segregation in the south in the 60's. The love and empathy that develop's for each of the woman who have a voice in this book makes it impossible to set down.

Miss Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny leave you cheering for them each step of the way. Kathryn Stockett has written a novel that will have you laughing, crying, frustrated, infurirated, heart broken, elated, anxious, engrossed and always wanting more.

If you only read 1 novel this summer make it 'The Help'.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Help Loving "The Help" June 15 2010
By NyiNya
How good is "The Help"? How many books do you know that effortlessly combine moral probity and social consciousness with a wittiness that makes you grin with delight? The year is 1962, Skeeter Whelan comes home from Old Miss with her BA and a yen to write. Her first assignment turns out to be an expose of racism...not the headline making kind that Medger Evers and Martin Luther King were fighting at the time, not school segregation, equal rights and voter registration, but the quiet, insidious kind found in every genteel Southern household. In other words, Skeeter's job is to reveal what it's really like to be a black maid in a white home.

Our would-be writer goes to the source, the maids themselves, but is able to coax only two--under promise of anonymity--to work with her: Minnie, whose outspokenness has cost her many, many jobs, and Abileen, who is considered a jewel, a treasure, and wholeheartedly trusted to raise her employers' precious (and seemingly endless supply of)babies...but not to use the family toilet. Soon, the other maids come flocking to tell their tales.

It's apparent that the church-going, mimosa-scented caucasian ladies of this world haven't made much progress from the days of Simon Legree. Oh, sure, nobody is taking a whip to the cleaning lady, but no law says you can't subject her to a humiliating series of rules, interrogations and suspicions.

The writing is so light and so fresh, you don't quite realize how seriously the writer, Kathryn Stockett, treats the subject. The book is funny...
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a Keeper! June 15 2009
By Burchy
What an absorbing book! I could hardly wait until I finished it; yet, I didn't want this book to end. It is filled with people you love to hate; people you love; people who turned out to be less than you thought; people who turned out to be more than you thought. Laugh out loud funny at times; heartbreaking at others. Understated suspense- not the kind we are used to but it is there. To divulge more would be to spoil it. Buy it or borrow it, but read it!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling June 17 2009
I have to admit that I was emotionally enthralled for the entire duration of reading this book from cover to cover. Stockett is a masterful storyteller, her narrative pulls you in, the suspense keeps you engaged, and the drama makes you want to shed a tear. This book is important because it explores the Jim Crow South in a way that is deeply personal, in a way that no textbook, no documentary could ever explain it. The evil of racism is not simply in the discrimination, but in the way it institutionalizes the power relations between white and black. The lives of these women really pulls you into their world.

As for the story itself, again, Stockett does a great job developing the central characters through multiple monologues. Stockett is also great at using literary devices like irony and satire to great effect. The only criticism I must admit though is that the ending appears cut short a little leaving a slight sense of incompleteness.

Overall, this is one of the best novels I have read in a long long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets ... Dec 24 2009
By Pandora
Beautifully written. Rich strong, three dimensional characters. A story without sentimentality, yet intensely life-affirming. Neck-snappingly insightful at times, without being preachy OR full of clichés. Full of hope for the human condition. People in this book definitely grow and change, some more than others, as happens in the real world ... therefore if one reader can't see that, perhaps the writing is a just tad too subtle? But most readers "get it", I see.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine novel by a talented writer, but . . . Oct. 20 2011
Kathryn Stockett is a talented writer, and The Help is an extraordinary first novel, but there is a great problem at the heart of it. Stockett takes on the voice of black women in the American South, and no matter how fine her perceptions and how admirable her sentiments, as a white woman (no matter her life-long personal experience as someone from the American South), her imagination can't possibly stretch to contain the totality of black experience.
I live in Canada now, but when I was 9-10 years old, we lived in Texas, and we had "help" -- not live-in help, but someone who came in 3-4 times a week to clean up and prepare the occasional meal. When she could she would baby-sit my two younger sisters and me. She was our favorite baby-sitter.
This was in the early '50s, when segregation still ruled full force. Much later my father told me that the first time Alma came to baby-sit and he got ready to drive her home, she climbed into the back seat of his car. He said, "Come sit up front." She said, "If I do, there's going to be trouble." We came to Texas from Europe, and my father was astonished. He said that was when he began to understand just what segregation in the South really meant.
I can't begin to compare our few years' experience of the American South with Stockett's life-long experience, but I do feel this. As a veteran (white) journalist, even if I had spent my whole life in the South, I would never dare to take on a black person's voice. Stockett's rendition of black speech is accurate, but because it was necessarily written out of a white person's perception, it can only sound patronizing.
I think Stockett could have created a great novel if she had written entirely from a white person's point of view. It would have been more difficult, but writing true is always difficult.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very open and written well.
Published 11 days ago by P. Lemieux
5.0 out of 5 stars It is better than the DVD but I enjoy both
It is better than the DVD but I enjoy both.a good read.
Published 28 days ago by Patricia Law
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Loved this book, it was a total page turner and I would recommend it anyone who is looking for a book that has a little bit of everything!
Published 1 month ago by Charlotte Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great story.
Published 2 months ago by Jette Henriksen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
i loved it. the movie was good but the book was way better
Published 3 months ago by mmn
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book….much better than the movie!!
absolutely loved the way this story was written. Loved the characters and hated some. Isn't this the way life goes. Movie was so great.
Published 3 months ago by pam5858
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating
Traps you in from page one. A real treat to the mind. Best book i read in a long time
Published 3 months ago by anick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The Help is an excellent read. It really drew me in. Normally it takes me at least a month or two to finish a book of 200 or so pages. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mark Nenadov
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not as thought provoking as I'd hoped
Decided to read this since the movie received good reviews. While an interesting read, I was hoping for a more emotional tale, given its topic and setting. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Curious George
5.0 out of 5 stars So good
I really like this book. I like the story. It is a way to tell people what had happened in the past and how the Help were treated. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ar Mi
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