Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

After struggling for awhile to get through another historical fiction book (I am done with Henry VIII stories!) I decided to finally read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

The novel tells the story from the viewpoint of three different women, all from different backgrounds, over the course of about a year in Mississippi in the early 1960's.  Two of the women are black maids to white families across town - some who have plenty of money and others that only pretend to.  The final storyteller is a white women who grew up with a black maid, but has some issues with their treatment.  After a very disturbing movement made by one of her friends, which would allow the maids to only use bathrooms outside or in the garage, she decides to do something about it. 

This book has been all over the best seller lists for over a year now, but for some reason I had trouble committing to reading it.  I thought it would be hard to find a book that could be so convincingly written from the perspective of three very different women.  Even more, writing as two black maids and a wealthy white woman without sounding like a caricature is difficult, to say the least, but somehow Stockett does this amazingly well.  The whole town is so vividly imagined and laid out you feel like you are going through each of these experiences.

I think the fact that the movie will be coming out soon with actors that I enjoy helped push me to buy the novel.  I hate not reading the book before seeing the movie - I like to make sure I have my own version of the characters in my head and then judge the casting fully!

I fully admit I jumped on this bandwagon, but it was totally worth the read.


  1. I love The Help. I won't see the movie though, I have a strict policy about not seeing the movie of books I've read unless it's about or filmed in Boston ;)

  2. Insightful look into an era in which change crept into American society, and the actions of players from both sides of the issue. Moving story.
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  3. I found it interesting that this story in part was inspired by the author's own life growing up in Mississippi. Her family had a black maid named Demetrie. The maid died when the author was 16, and she never got to ask her how she felt about being black and working for a white family in Mississippi.

    This book is highly recommended.
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