Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Book: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A
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!)

Other Reviews:
(there are so many reviews out there, so I'm picking just a few of the more recent ones)

A Book a Week
Word Lily
Rebecca Reads


  1. The Help was an amazing book, and I'm jealous that your going to go hear Kathryn Stockett tonight! I look forward to hearing how it goes, and also the results on the caramel cake :-).

  2. Oh, I'm jealous you and Melissa are going as well! I haven't read it yet but it's on my list.

  3. No, you aren't the last person alive to have read this book. I STILL haven't gotten around to it. Though I really, really want to.

  4. This book will haunt me the rest of my life. I'm the only person on the planet that hated it. Having a white person tell me what it's like to be black in the south was offensive. But I live in the South, so I think I'm hypersensitive. My opinion got noticed in the NYTimes...

  5. News flash: we may not be able to go to the signing tonight after all. I guess we are going to still try, but we may not get in. Shoot, I wish they would have hosted her at a bigger location.

    Gerbera: Well, how cool is that that you were mentioned in that article! Crazy! And I must have missed your review (maybe it was back before I was reading your blog?) so I'm going to go see what you had to say. I imagine there ARE more like you though, who wondered how she felt qualified or something, to write about it all.

  6. Suey,
    That's what's kind of wasn't really a review, it was more a RANT. My skin still crawls when this book is mentioned.
    But, heck, nothing like getting mentioned in the NYT!!!

  7. Gerbera: No kidding! So hey, I just posted a long comment on your post about The Help, so hopefully you'll see that.

  8. I just saw Kathryn Stockett on Sunday....she was amazing!

  9. I just read this book for Book Club too! I loved it too and it was pretty much universally loved at our book club - made for a fun discussion.



Related Posts with Thumbnails