Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review - The Help


I decided to buy a copy of The Help from Amazon because I was in between book club books and felt this was an opportune time to catch up on light summer reading.  What was I thinking?  I should have known better, when reading a book whose major theme is segregation.

The story follows three women in 1962 who get together to interview black maids working in white households.  Two of the women, Alileen and Minny are African Americans, and they work for women from two completely different worlds.  As the book progresses, they take turn telling about their past and present lives, along with Skeeter, a young educated white women recently back from college who's living with her parents on their "plantation".  She's the instigator of the interviews and is more interested in telling this story than looking for a husband, like her mother expects.

At the end of the book, Skeeter talks to one of the white women who constantly gets pushed around by the Junior League.  And she realizes that both white and black women "are just two people.  Not much that separates us.  Not nearly as much as I thought.'"

Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, tells us that the quotation above is a “prized” phrase from the book.  And I've read she was unsure of taking on the voice of  African American women.  I think she did a wonderful job, though I didn't like the southern dialect she used for them.  It was something I overlooked...    

The story is both funny and sad at the same time.  Stockett touched on other themes than just discrimination in the South, where she grew up.  She writes about sexual tensions in America in the early 60s and social climbing among women.  I would recommend The Help to both women or men, and look forward to seeing the movie in the near future.     

6 comments:

Paige (Final Clothes-Out) said...

I've read the book and seen the movie. Both were good, but the book was better. If ou decide to see the movie, be prepared for some significant character changes at the end. :-)

Erika said...

I have heard good things about the book and look forward to reading it (eventually).

BeadedTail said...

I have this book on hold at the library waiting for me to pick it up this week. I can't wait to read it! I'm currently reading "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Have you read that yet? I can't put it down!

Whskr & Dash Kitten said...

Thanks for the review. I am tempted to read it, as it sounds a cut above the average woman's novel. Films are never the same, they take liberties, they stretch points they take important people out and you think um....?!?!?! I love reading, I love films, I shall probably see and read and enjoy both :-)

Splendid Little Stars said...

I loved this book! I think she totally captured the rhythms of society as well as the speech of the time and place.
haven't seen the movie yet.

Linda Pruitt said...

Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the review!

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