The Help – Kathryn Stockett [TSS]

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
ISBN: 9780399155345
Pages: 464
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating:  5 out of 5

Summary:

It’s the summer in Mississippi; the year is 1962.  Skeeter is home from college, wanting to be a writer but slowly realizing that no one will hire a woman for important writing jobs.  Desperate, Skeeter takes a job writing a column on home cleaning tips for women, but she doesn’t know anything about the subject.  She begins to consult Aibileen, a black maid in her friend’s house, about the column.  Aibileen and another maid, Minny, slowly open Skeeter’s eyes to the plight of black maids who wait on white women, and take her writing career in an unexpected and dangerous direction.

Review:

The Help is simply an amazing book.  The summary above cannot do this wonderful work of fiction justice; it’s so complicated, so nuanced, and so incredibly beautiful that it would take more than words to describe The Help

The characters in this book are masterfully developed and are its core.  Skeeter is so brave, yet so naive at the beginning of the novel.  As it progresses, she begins to realize what is at stake and how much the maids are risking in order to be able to tell their stories.  Though she is frightened of the consequences, she displays tremendous courage and strength of will.

Aibileen is a quiet, gentle soul who the reader imagines as ageless, yet incredibly beautiful.  She has so much dignity and grace, it’s painful to read this novel at times because of what she is put through.  The reader wants to reach into the pages of the book and stand as a barrier between Aibileen and anyone who might hurt her.  At the same time, the reader wants to curl up and let Aibileen be a mother to them.  She’s an amazingly detailed and beautifully written character that is really the heart of The Help.

The relationship between Minny and her employer, Celia, is a heartwarming one.  In this book of sadness, it’s wonderful to see such a bright light.  Celia is dependent on Minny; she needs her, just as much as Minny needs to be employed.  But their relationship develops beyond one of employer and employee.  They form a real connection that defies the norms of the time.

Though this book is a sad one that tackles some difficult subjects, it’s always full of hope.  It’s not a book that weighs the reader down or is hard to read.  It’s long, but the pages fly by as the reader gets more and more involved in the stories of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, three amazing women whose disparate voices come together to narrate this story.  I wish I had more words to describe how astonishing, how uplifting, how incredibly touching this novel is, but they simply aren’t there.  All I can say is that The Help does not disappoint and you should make it a point to read this wonderful novel as soon as possible.

Comments

  1. This was one of my favorite books of the year. So much that I convinced my hapless book club to read it (even though I had already) because I wanted them to experience a truly quality read! It is hard to find words to properly express it.

  2. This was one of my favorite books of the year. So much that I convinced my hapless book club to read it (even though I had already) because I wanted them to experience a truly quality read! It is hard to find words to properly express it.

  3. I am one of the few who haven’t read this yet. I will, I will.

  4. I am one of the few who haven’t read this yet. I will, I will.

  5. Well, you’ve most definitely sold me on this book 🙂 I’ve heard lots of good things about it so it looks like I will be requesting it from the library asap. Great review!

  6. Well, you’ve most definitely sold me on this book 🙂 I’ve heard lots of good things about it so it looks like I will be requesting it from the library asap. Great review!

  7. I think that everyone who read this last year has it on their top books list–including me!

  8. I think that everyone who read this last year has it on their top books list–including me!

  9. I just got an email from PBS saying that I’m finally getting a copy of this book. I’m so excited, I’ve been looking forward to reading it. I really liked your review, too. I’m glad to refresh my memory of what it’s about. Sometimes, books get put on my wishlist, then by the time I get it, I can’t remember what it was about and why I wanted it.

  10. I just got an email from PBS saying that I’m finally getting a copy of this book. I’m so excited, I’ve been looking forward to reading it. I really liked your review, too. I’m glad to refresh my memory of what it’s about. Sometimes, books get put on my wishlist, then by the time I get it, I can’t remember what it was about and why I wanted it.

  11. I’m like Candace – I haven’t read this one yet. I’m anxious to though, since I lived in Mississippi in 1962.

  12. I’m like Candace – I haven’t read this one yet. I’m anxious to though, since I lived in Mississippi in 1962.

  13. Every time I think I’m the only one left that hasn’t read this book, I see someone else review it! And it’s strange as everyone seems to love it. I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon.

  14. Every time I think I’m the only one left that hasn’t read this book, I see someone else review it! And it’s strange as everyone seems to love it. I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon.

  15. One of my top 10 of the year!

  16. One of my top 10 of the year!

  17. This is one of those books that I might not have wanted to read if it hadn’t been for all the blogger buzz. Now I have a copy sitting in my TBR room waiting it’s turn. I am so glad you liked it. I look forward to reading it myself.

  18. This is one of those books that I might not have wanted to read if it hadn’t been for all the blogger buzz. Now I have a copy sitting in my TBR room waiting it’s turn. I am so glad you liked it. I look forward to reading it myself.

  19. I’m currently reading this book and it’s so good! You’re right, words really can’t describe it 🙂 It’s also very sad and I just want to hug Abileen and laugh with Minny and knock some sense into Celia and smack Miss Hilly. haha.
    I decided to read it asap after seeing it as one of almost every blogger’s favorite adult fiction title.

  20. I’m currently reading this book and it’s so good! You’re right, words really can’t describe it 🙂 It’s also very sad and I just want to hug Abileen and laugh with Minny and knock some sense into Celia and smack Miss Hilly. haha.
    I decided to read it asap after seeing it as one of almost every blogger’s favorite adult fiction title.

  21. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. I might have to check it out.

  22. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. I might have to check it out.

  23. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile, and your excitement and love for this book shines through in your review and has convinced me that I must read it soon!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  24. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile, and your excitement and love for this book shines through in your review and has convinced me that I must read it soon!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  25. OK, I’m finally convinced… adding this one to my Amazon cart! 🙂 I’ve heard about it many times, of course, but wasn’t sure it was a novel for me. Now I’m sure! 🙂

  26. OK, I’m finally convinced… adding this one to my Amazon cart! 🙂 I’ve heard about it many times, of course, but wasn’t sure it was a novel for me. Now I’m sure! 🙂

  27. I could never figure out who my favorite character was. I’d think I knew, then I’d get to the next section and fall in love with the woman narrating it all over again.

  28. I could never figure out who my favorite character was. I’d think I knew, then I’d get to the next section and fall in love with the woman narrating it all over again.

  29. one of the best…!

  30. one of the best…!

  31. I have just finished reading this book. It is a very good story and beautifully written. No wonder it is the best book of 2009. I like it very much, will recommend my friends to read it.

  32. I have just finished reading this book. It is a very good story and beautifully written. No wonder it is the best book of 2009. I like it very much, will recommend my friends to read it.

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