Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

the-help

Title: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Published: February 10, 2009

Pages: 444

Genre: Historical Fiction 

Amazon / Barnes and Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step….

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.

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It had been about two years since I last watched The Help and I still found myself thinking about how much I enjoyed it. Instead of watching it again, I decided to read the book to see what wasn’t included. I was pleased to discover that the movie was very true to the book, and I found the movie scenes playing out in my head as I was reading.  For that reason, it almost feels like I’m reviewing both the book and movie.

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I adored all of the narrators — (1) Aibileen , (2) Skeeter, and (3) Minny.

  1. Aibileen was so sweet and could do no wrong in my eyes.
  2. I loved how Skeeter grew and embraced her eccentricities.
  3. I admired Minny’s strength and couldn’t get enough of her quick comments.

There was never a moment where I got bored of them or irritated with how they were dealing with situations. I was able to empathize with them and understand why they did what they did (even Minny’s Terrible Awful thing).

Thinking about how Aibileen, Skeeter, and Minny’s relationship develops warms my heart. They start off so hesitant around each other, but, by the end of the book, they’re supporting each other as they turn a new leaf in their lives.

“We set there a second, listening to the storm. I think about the first time Miss Skeeter came to my house, how awkward we was. Now I feel like we family.”

I liked how the writing was kept simple and that information was given in a timely manner. I have a problem with historical fiction books info-dumping or being too flowery. It takes away from the story and makes it a task to read the book. Stockett did a great job in pacing the story. The book never seemed like it was dragging out or things were happening too fast.

It was entertaining as well as enlightening. I still found myself laughing and holding my breath at scenes even though I knew what was going to happen. This book adds another perspective on how horrible racism in the South was, and I think that’s something we can never have enough of.

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I can’t pinpoint anything about the book that I truly disliked, but I would like to add that I wish I read the book before the movie. I probably would’ve rated the book higher if I didn’t know the plot twists beforehand.

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This is one of those rare books that I wouldn’t mind reading again. It left me feeling good, despite racism being the book’s main theme.

☆☆

i really liked it

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Have you read or seen the movie The Help? What did you think of it?

 

 

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