on September 17, 2015
I find that if a book doesn't grab my attention and curiosity within the first page or two... I tend to not bother reading it. If the book isn't interesting, I get bored really quick and stop reading. But, this book had me hooked within the first few sentences. I really enjoyed that this author wrote the book in the way that people spoke in that time and location. At times I actually caught myself reading aloud with the accent in which it was written. Then I would giggle at myself...haha. This book is definitely an awesome read. Enjoy!
This novel is a very well written piece of writing, tackling racism in Jackson, Mississipi in the 60s. Instead of focusing on "flashy" topics like slavery, voting, and equal rights, this book looks closer to home for content, examining relationships with the hired help. While the society ladies are busy throwing fundraisers to help the "poor starving black children in Africa", their Help raise their children singlehandedly and are not even good enough to use the same washroom.
In the Help, Skeeter comes home from school and is looking for work writing (instead of settling down with an eligible prospect). The only job she can find is writing a Household Cleaning advice column. The problem is she has never cleaned anything in her life, but takes the job and get her good friend's hired help to help her answer the questions. In doing so, she starts taking a closer look at Abby's life and treatment, while she searches for the truth behind the departure of her own maid while she was at school. In a (rash) attempt to impress an important editor and get into the work she wants to write about, Skeeter promises to write an expose about the hired help. Seems good on paper, but finding maids willing to talk about their experiences will be difficult as, if it got out, their lives could be ruined.
This book is definitely worth a read. Kathryn Stockett manages to tackle some very deep issues in a well-written, easy read. The book is written in a light tone, with humour throughout the pages.
This is the story of three unforgettable women who strive for change in America. It takes place in 1962, Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.
Aibileen is a black maid, raising her seventeenth white child. She also does the cooking, cleaning, and ironing for a mere $43 a week from 8-4, six days a week. She is a lovable character, devoted to the child she is raising, and an honest and proud lady. Looking after baby Mae Mobley is a distraction and a help in overcoming the sadness she feels after losing her son Treelore.
What boggles her mind is that she can raise white children but she cannot use her employer's bathroom.
Minnie, Aibileen's best friend, also a black maid is a sassy one. She is short and stocky, but the one problem she has is that she can't hold her tongue. She is known throughout for being a great cook, but because of her loose tongue, she loses one job after another. However, her best friend Aibileen gets her a job with a newcomer, Celia Foote,a poor country girl who has married a wealthy man and has never had a maid. Minnie goes for the job interview and gets the job providing she keeps the job a secret. Mrs. Celia Foote doesn't want her husband to know and wants her husband to think that she is doing all the work by herself. Minnie doesn't like the idea but goes along with it until........
Miss Skeeter, a 22 year old white socialite, has just returned home from College, Ole Miss,with her degree and a need to write. Her mother makes nothing of her degree and is only interested in seeing Skeeter married. Miss Skeeter has plans of her own and has applied for an editing position at Harper and Row Publishers. She receives a letter from Elaine Stein, Senior Editor, with a couple of suggestions. Firstly, to be in the business of writing she would need a minimum of five years experience. Secondly, she tells Skeeter to write about what disturbs her, particularly if it bothers no one else. Skeeter gets a job with the Jackson Journal and her writing begins.
Miss Skeeter decides that she is going to write about what it's like to be a black maid in a white home. To do so, she goes directly to the black maids themselves and promises them she won't reveal their names, because they are fearful of losing their jobs and under those conditions they agree. Word gets around and very soon other black maids come forth to tell their stories and a story is in the making.
Kathryn Stockett's writing is so refreshing and humourous, but at the same time she gets her point across on the evil of Racism. She has a talent for capturing the way Aibileen and Minnie would speak in comparison with the well educated Miss Skeeter.
This book will fill you with sadness, anger, frustration as well as Hope for a better life.
Kathryn Stockett's debut book is a WINNER.
on November 3, 2011
This book is funny and gripping, unique in its colloquial expressions, one should buy it, read it, highlight it, and then keep it handy and refer to it just for a giggle if not for precious sound advice.
I have not seen the movie yet but I doubt it does it justice, so I am still hesitant if to see it or not, as I would not want to erase the bubbling joy I felt when listening to this book, a crescendo of laughter, the audio book being very beautifully read by different women (each with their own perspective - following the book trail) and that makes such a difference, for the originality of the language is preserved and thoroughly enjoyed.
The main story in itself is not too complicated and almost entirely revealed by the movie trailer. There is a Southern young girl freshly returned from college who realises more and more she does not fit in with her young friends, whose ideas of life involve getting a husband (primary reason for a girl to go to college in those days), making some babies, mostly a sense of duty and not necessarily desire of motherhood, and then shopping, hair parlour, having nails done, make-up carefully applied, and more frequent than not, torturing the help. The girl wants to write more than anything and gets the idea of writing about the help, controversial and dangerous subject but the only one approved by a publishing house. The time of the narration makes all things extremely inciting as it takes place during the civil rights movement in the United States, when and where racism is as hard as it gets.
The other stories are related and referring to the main story, they complete it via different perspectives, those of black women servants stripped of so much and having to stoop to the lowest of lows although inexplicably - even to themselves- they are also the nannies for the white babies, from conception to almost maturity. Life is hard but they keep on living, there is poverty, marital abuse, futile death and malicious unpunished injury, so much injustice that it makes you cringe. (...) See the entire review at allwords.ca
on February 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.
on January 18, 2015
I have bought 4 copies of this book now, and gift them to people on memorable events. The book will show you how people work together in spite of perceived differences to achieve something for the good of all rather than the benefit of a few.
on August 18, 2009
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'.
on June 15, 2010
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.
The best fairy tales give us a profound look into human nature, even if we know reality might be a little different. The famous chocolate pie incident comes to mind as I write this. I can understand a maid putting that particular (also brown) ingredient into a pie designated for a certain racist former boss, but I can't get how she'd blab about it. In Mississippi in the early 1960s, wouldn't that be just too dangerous? What about the KKK? In any case, this is a great read, with engaging characters and a plot that takes a little while to pick up but does get going. I hope Ms. Stockett writes more books!
on June 15, 2009
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!