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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
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...
Published on Feb. 10 2009 by Tara Robertson

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars They've done it again
I kept hearing all the excitement this book and its movie are generating, so I bought a copy and read it cover-to-cover. The author certainly has talent as a writer but I am disappointed at yet another *Great White Hope* story where groups or generations of disenfranchised minorities are powerless until the white hero or heroine swoops in and liberates these poor folk -...
Published on Sept. 27 2011 by P. Sibun


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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Feb. 10 2009
By 
Tara Robertson "tarasview" (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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 "G-Gi" (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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 "NyiNya" (It was broken when I got here...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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...but it's never slapstick and never resorts to caricature, even when Stockett sits us among a group of white ladies sipping cool drinks and planning a fundraiser to save 'the poor black Africans' -- while guilelessly and guiltlessly exploiting the black woman serving them their diet sodas.

And the book isn't a one-note opera. Minnie is, at least on one occasion, the victim of her own misconceptions, and not any misbehavior on the part of a wholly benign employer. Hired by a "white trash" gal who married up, she must remain invisible from the husband. Her employer wants him to believe that she is the cooking/cleaning/washing and ironing wonder. When Minnie is finally caught in the act of cleaning by the husband, she panics...only to find him amused by the situation. It's a very funny scene. The husband walks in wielding an axe (he's cutting down a tree), but all Minnie sees is a big white guy, armed and dangerous. They explain themselves and friendship is brokered over sandwiches.

In some aspects, The Help a look a prejudice from two angles, but it doesn't falter in pointing out where the real culpability lies. The Help inspires thought and raises awareness...but never sledgehammers the message. You can enjoy the book as light reading, an amusing book about Southern mores, or you can go for the message. Either way, it's worth reading. This is Kathryn Stockett's first novel. Judging from the way it's climbed the best-seller charts, we'll be reading her next offering very soon. I can't wait.
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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 (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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
By 
Coach C (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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
By 
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Sept. 19 2010
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
I loved one of the comments on the back cover of this book (British print): "A laugh-out-loud, vociferously angry must-read". I would only add "Unequivocally poignant and touching".
I would give it 10 stars if I could. Love, hate, integration, familial relationships, tolerance, hope... this is what the book is about. A delightful, funny, moving read. Upsetting and uplifting at the same time.

Jackson, Mississippi, 1960s. When racial integration was still hardly tolerated, the respective paths of two black maids and a white lady belonging to the upper class circle cross. Their personal tales interweave and blend, with a project in mind which will ultimately rock the proverbial boat.

Each main character writes in first person: Aibileen, who is raising her umpteenth white child with love and dedication while constantly thinking of her own son, now dead.

Minny, Aibileen's close friend, married with several children of her own, a maid with a soft heart but a sharp tongue which gets her into trouble more often than not.

Miss Skeeter, a white lady with her own dreams, whose unconventional ideas contrast mildly, and later on, sharply with the society and family she was born into. She also wants to find out why the adored black maid who raised her, Constantine, has inexplicably disappeared. No one is willing to tell her.

Each lady is surrounded by her own sets of characters in the background, characters that however are primary pawns to what will eventually happen.

The author gives voice to Aibileen's and Minny's language superbly. You will find a language contrast between the well-schooled Miss Skeeter and both maids, which renders a vivid and true portrait of their lives and views.

This is, in my opinion, a rare timeless piece of narrative, which will make you think as well as entertain you like very few books can. Wonderful, really wonderful. Well done to the author Ms. Kathryn Stockett!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a myriad of emotions, March 30 2010
By 
Laura Fabiani (Montreal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
Kathryn Stockett's debut novel is like a steam engine that starts nice and slow, then picks up momentum and speeds along. It had me wishing there were more than 450 pages because I did not want it to end! Stockett created such memorable characters that I could almost believe that if I went to Jackson Mississippi I'd meet them.

The Help gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be a black maid during the 1960's in Mississippi'from the point of view of the black maids. Not the stereotypical version of the mammy black maid portrayed by Hollywood, but the version taken from Stockett's own experience of having been raised by a black maid. She captured their voices so well, I could clearly picture those Southern black women, I could feel their despair, their acceptance, their anger, their joy.

Reading this novel filled me with a myriad of emotions. I laughed at some of the humorous situations that came up, felt anger because of the prejudice, sadness at the lack of love not only among the races but also between parent and child, glee at how some were outsmarted, and I had tears of joy for the small victories that became stepping stones to better times. I also cringed because of the profanity, particularly the word g*dd*mn which was used more times than I cared for, although like some of my book club members, you might be so absorbed in the story you might not notice as much. And it ended a little abruptly. I would have liked for the story to continue a little more. When a steam engine train gets rolling it takes time to bring it to a full stop. However, this does not affect the storyline much. It was understood where the characters would go from there.

The book's message is a lofty but fundamental one. At the end of the novel, in her own words, Stockett writes, 'I don't presume to think that I know what it really felt like to be a black woman in Mississippi, especially in the 1960s. But trying to understand is vital to our humanity. In The Help there is one line that I truly prize: 'For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.''

Well said. Well written. Stockett took on a difficult subject and it seems, effortlessly churned out an unforgettable story with unforgettable characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Window to the Soul of Segregation, Oct. 1 2010
Kathryn Stockett has created a masterpiece here. She wraps us up in the lives of her beautifully portrayed characters letting us feel and hear the world they inhabited in Mississippi, of the Sixties. Her use of idiom and wonderfully spelt local dialect inspire the imagination and make her subjects live and breathe on the page. The subject is a universal one, the black verses white war. We are treated to wonderful experiences on both sides of the fence and witness the growth of mutual respect and understanding. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone from young to old.

The Help is brilliant. I hope K. S. is working on her next novel. I'll be looking out for it.
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The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Paperback - April 5 2011)
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