Thursday, May 6, 2010
Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
For: Book Club later this month
From: I bought it.
Just in case there's someone out there that hasn't read this book yet, here's what it's about. It takes place in the South during the 60s. A young woman, Skeeter, wants to be a writer and so, with encouragement from a big time New York editor, she decides to compile a book about the relationships between the black house maids in her area and their white employers. In order to do this, she must find black house maids willing to tell their stories! Not an easy task.
This book jumps back and forth between Skeeter's point of view, as she struggles with this project, and two of the maids, as they decide to tell their stories, even while still in the midst of living them.
The book is very powerful in its ability to capture these three voices. Amazing characterization! The emotional intensity is also very real as we, the readers, live the lives of these women right along with them. It feels like you are right there suffering the indignities they face, falling in love with the children they tend, and feeling the anxieties they have after deciding to speak, out loud, their experiences to this a white girl.
I especially loved the melding of historical events (such as the moon landing or Bob Dylan's debut) with the stories of these characters. That was cool.
I also appreciated learning about this period of Southern culture that I knew nothing about. It sounds like there were aspects of it that were quite sweet, along with the many unpleasant parts. I also appreciated that even though the book dealt with some serious issues, it never crossed over to the "preachy" side.
Tonight I'm very excited to be going to meet Kathryn Stockett and to listen to her tell her personal story about this book. I hear she is wonderful! I'm planning on going with Melissa from One Librarian's Book Reviews, which makes the evening even more to be anticipated! I'll let you know tomorrow how it all turns out.
We'll be discussing this book later on this month for our final book club selection before our summer break. I have plans to make caramel cake (which is a must-do for obvious reasons!), but have no idea how! Anyone know a good recipe?
Kathryn Stockett's website (where it's mentioned that this book will be a movie!)
(there are so many reviews out there, so I'm picking just a few of the more recent ones)
A Book a Week