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Book Review: 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

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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. Hardcover , pages. Jackson, Mississippi , United States. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Help , please sign up.

Do any of you remember the exact words said to the little girl: Brenda You is kind. My 12 year old daughter would like to read this. What do you think about a middle school student reading this? I would absolutely have your daughter read this, the voices are authentic and it perfectly sums up events that occurred during this time period. See all 64 questions about The Help….

Lists with This Book. Apr 30, Meredith Holley marked it as abandoned Recommends it for: I have a friend who is mad at me right now for liking stupid stuff, but the thing is that I do like stupid stuff sometimes, and I think it would be really boring to only like smart things. These are the books for which I have no patience, topics that maybe someone with more imagination or self-awareness could have written about compassionately, without exploiting the victimization of the characters.

The Help is one of these. The telephone game is pretty fun sometimes, and it is really beautiful in monster stories like Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights because what they are telling me is not intended as trustworthy or earnest. All of the seriousness in monster stories is an impression or an emotion reflected back through the layers of narrative.

In this book, a white woman writes from the point of view of a black woman during the Civil Rights movement, who overhears the conversations of white women. It becomes particularly weird when one of the black maids starts to comment on the extreme accent of one of the white women, Celia Foote, whose written dialogue continues to be impeccable. Who is this narrator?

Why does she choose not to speak proper English if she can speak it? Also, usually the layers of narration in a telephone-game book are only within the book. I am convinced it is her whose brain hears the white woman speaking TV English, and the black women speaking in dialect. It gives away the game. Even the quotes from the movie have an example of this.

A conversation between her and Minnie goes like this: Celia speaks in a proper sentence, but Minny misses the "are" in the second part of the sentence. Aerin points out in message that I am talking about eye dialect , which is about spelling, not pronunciation, as in the example above. Everyone, in real life, speaks in some form of non-standard English. Though I have seen some really beautiful uses of eye dialect, as Aerin points out, writers typically use it to show subservience of characters or that they are uneducated, which often has racist overtones.

And a book about Civil Rights is always important cultural history to me. If you loved this book, though, or, really, even if you hated it I would recommend Coming of Age in Mississippi. I think that book is one of the more important records of American history. View all comments. Sep 22, Caroline rated it did not like it. I was uncomfortable with the tone of the book; I felt that the author played to very stereotypical themes, and gave the characters especially the African American ones very inappropriate and obvious voices and structure in terms constructing their mental character.

The author would benefit from exploring authentic African American voices Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and understanding the scope, range and most important the foundation of the emotions genuine African American characters express as a result of their journey as a people in the US hope, frustration, drive, passion, anger, happiness, sadness, depression, joy. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. I read the first paragraph of The Help , absorbing the words, but suddenly being caught off guard by the dialect. Staring up at me was this: An affluent, white Manhattanite. And one who apparently fancies herself a master at Southern Black Vernacular. I rolled my eyes and returned to page one, fully prepared I read the first paragraph of The Help , absorbing the words, but suddenly being caught off guard by the dialect.

So clearly it can be done. But I was not convinced about Stockett. That is not what I got. But the pages turned, and when I next looked up at the clock, a few hours had passed and I was well on my way to the halfway point. There are countless trite episodes in The Help , standard plot fillers that can be found in both heaving Harlequin romances and sucky Oprah Book Club fodder.

But there are more moments of striking beauty, humanity, and humor, even if the ending is a bit of a cop-out. Is The Help Great Literature? Is it a fast and enjoyable read? So congratulations, Whitey McWhiterson, I wound up not hating your book. And God knows I tried. View all 39 comments. Jun 17, Annalisa rated it it was amazing Recommended to Annalisa by: Here is an illustrative tale of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the s in racially conflicted Mississippi.

Stockett includes this quote by Howell Raines in her personal except at the end of the novel: There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that o Here is an illustrative tale of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the s in racially conflicted Mississippi.

There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism.

I did not expect this book to hit so close to home. After all, I did not grow up in the South and completely missed the racial mind shift in the country. And I did grow up in South America with a maid trying to keep herself out of poverty by making our crazy family happy. As much as we loved her, I can see so many of the pitfalls from these complex relationships in my own history. I know our maid was stuck between pleasing my mother and raising us the way she believed appropriate. She had absolutely no power, and yet she was all powerful to shape and mold us.

I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her. I took her for granted. Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers. And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact. Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie?

It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid. I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and more than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you.

It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life. You only get one in a lifetime. Believe me, I know. The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me. I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security.

Stockett captured all these emotions. I also loved the writing style. When style compliments plot, I get giddy. The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids--and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids. The styles parallel each other as do the messages. The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding. To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity.

From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people. My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there. She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her.

View all 40 comments. Mar 15, Ellen rated it it was ok Shelves: The Kindle DX I ordered is galloping to the rescue today AND, for all the book purists which would include me , this is a need , rather than a want.

However, despite the visual challenges, I read all pages of The Help yesterday. Clearly, the book held my interest. What goes on in the homes of the upper crust? How do these women really treat their maids? Though the book would be published anonymously and no locations would be given, the stories provide enough detail so that the premise that the book could be received as being about Anywhere, USA defies belief.

For the maids, discovery would mean loss of a job with no hope of getting another position and retribution that could include being falsely accused of a crime and jailed or even being injured or killed. Despite the underlying tension and references to violent events that do occur, the book teeters.

At times, I was furious and in tears over the effing racism and the tragedies described. But Kathryn Stockett keeps pulling back.

What these women endured deserves more. View all 53 comments. It more or less rubbed me the wrong way. It reads like the musings of a white woman attempting to have an uncomfortable conversation, without really wanting to be uncomfortable. The national fascination with this book makes me sick. It makes me think of my grandmother who was "the help" to many white families for well over 50 years. In fact, I think she we would be horrified at the thought that her years of hard work in some cases, for some very horrible people would be reduced to some wannabe feel good story of the past.

View all 55 comments. Nov 27, Lola rated it really liked it Shelves: You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today? B-but… The Help is different. We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect. Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story. She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down? No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit. He is the most frustrating part of the story, really.

We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book. Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book. I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie.

Apr 08, karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 84 comments. Apr 02, Kai rated it it was amazing Shelves: Not that much separates us. This novel did so many things to me. There was lots of crying Find more of my books on Instagram. View all 14 comments. Jan 12, Majenta rated it it was amazing. Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante. Oh, one more thing: I think this plotline was my favorite part. But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny: View all 12 comments.

Jan 07, James rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads And I wonder how many people just watched the I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads And I wonder how many people just watched the movie I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past The characters are very clear and strong.

And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task. Each and every one shows you a different personality: When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future.

About Me For those new to me or my reviews I read A LOT. I write A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https: Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. In the story, she is tending the Leefolt household and caring for their toddler, Mae Mobley.

Walters, mother of Hilly Holbrook. Skeeter is the daughter of a white family who owns a cotton farm outside Jackson. Many of the field hands and household help are African Americans. Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from the University of Mississippi and wants to become a writer. Skeeter is curious about the disappearance of Constantine, her maid who brought her up and cared for her.

Constantine had written to Skeeter while she was away from home in college saying what a great surprise she had awaiting her when she came home. Skeeter does not believe that Constantine would leave her like this; she knows something is wrong and believes that information will eventually come out. Everyone Skeeter asks about the unexpected disappearance of Constantine pretends it never happened and avoids giving her any real answers. She decides with the assistance of a publisher that she wants to reveal the truth about being a colored maid in Mississippi.

Skeeter struggles to communicate with the maids and gain their trust. The dangers of writing a book about African Americans speaking out in the South during the early s hover constantly over the three women.

Elaine Stein had also suggested to Skeeter that she find a subject to write about which she can be dedicated to and passionate about. Skeeter realizes that she wants to expose to the world in the form of a book the deplorable conditions the maids in the South endure in order to barely survive. Aibileen finally agrees to tell her story. Minny, despite her distrust of whites, eventually agrees as well, but she and Aibileen are unable to convince others to tell their stories. She plays Aibileen Clark with an air of dignity, compassion and strength that is a sight to behold.

She is surrounded by some nice revelations as well. Octavia Spencer gets the role of her life as outspoken Minny Jackson. Like Davis, she walks the fine line between caricature and realism and pulls it off. These three standout performances elevate "The Help" from average status. Well-intended but somewhat simplistic in its depiction of the problem. Entertaining enough but hardly doing justice to the topic. It inspires me to think one day 50 years from now people will see a movie with gay characters and say More Top Movies Trailers Forums.

Season 4 Castle Rock: Season 1 Fear the Walking Dead: Season 3 Sharp Objects: Miniseries The Walking Dead: View All Photos The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny-three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.

From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. Emma Stone as Skeeter Phelan. Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook. Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson. Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote. Anna Camp as Jolene French. Eleanor Henry as Mae Mobley. Emma Henry as Mae Mobley. Chris Lowell as Stuart Whitworth. Cicely Tyson as Constantine Jefferson. Mike Vogel as Johnny Foote. Sissy Spacek as Missus Walters. Brian Kerwin as Robert Phelan. Rian Kerwin as Robert Phelan.

Wes Chatham as Carlton Phelan. Allison Janney as Charlotte Phelan. Aunjanue Ellis as Yule Mae Davis. Ted Welch as William Holbrook.

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Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush! I cannot gush enough about this book. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, follows the lives of three women living in Jackson, Mississippi. Two of the women, Aibilene and Minny are black, hired as help to wealthy, or trying to appear wealthy, white families/5.

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The book is narrated by three very different women; Minny, a black maid unable to keep a job due to her hot head, Aibileen, another black maid who is raising her 'seventeenth white child', and Miss Skeeter, at the opposite end of the .

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I originally read the audio book edition of "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and later read it on my Kindle for book club. The Help is most definitely on my short list for all time favorite books. I am not sure which was better the audio book or the Kindle read. This is the first novel by this author and I do not know how she will ever top herself. Apr 01,  · By Kathryn Stockett Putnam. pp. $ Southern whites' guilt for not expressing gratitude to the black maids who raised .

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Summary and reviews of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, plus links to a book excerpt from The Help and author biography of Kathryn Stockett. Feb 19,  · In “The Help,” Kathryn Stockett’s button-pushing, soon to be wildly popular novel about black domestic servants working in white Southern households in the early s, one woman works especially tirelessly.