Review: The Help

the-helpTitle: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Cover Copy: “Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…

There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own sons tragic death; Minny who’s cooking is nearly as sassy as her cooking; an white Miss Skeeter, home from college, ho wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Abileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell.”

My Thoughts: The Help is a novel narrated by three very different women, the respectful Aibileen with her dedication to raising her seventeenth white child little Mae Mobley, Minny who is unemployable due to her sassy mouth and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan the white college graduate who wants to make it as a writer. The story jumps between these three characters to develop an interesting look at life in the South in the 1960’s, from the social and racial boundaries to dynamics within family and friendships. Kathryn Stockett has created three compelling main characters and along with  the general tone of the novel this makes for an easy read despite the underlying subject matter of racial injustice. The great thing about this novel is how authentic the subject matter remains, this stems from the fact that Stockett is a Southern white woman and her experiences lend an element of truth to this fictional story. She poses the thought that, as well as plain racism, there was an element of tradition and fear of reprisal that allowed for the segregation to continue to such lengths. She shows this on both sides from the spread in popularity of white employers supposed need for separate bathrooms to the maids teaching their daughters how to act in service. This novel is both charming and humorous and it is no wonder that it became a best-seller based on these attributes.

Favourite Quotes:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”

“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

“Miss Skeeter, she frowning at Miss Hilly. She set her cards down face up and say real matter-a-fact, “Maybe we ought to just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly”

Final Thoughts:

Kathryn Stockett has managed to write a charming, witty and heart-warming novel while not neglecting the seriousness of the widespread racism of the time. It is a testament to her writing talent that she has produced a novel that has the ability to both entertain and highlight social injustice.

The Re-reads

I mentioned in my first post that I have previously read twenty two of the books from the list and I’m slightly ashamed that I haven’t read more actually as there are some literary classics on there that I seem to have glossed over.

So here is the list of books that I have already read, have you read more?

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  4. Charlotte’s Web
  5. Jane Eyre
  6. The Help
  7. The Hunger Games
  8. Hamlet
  9. Of Mice and Men
  10. Romeo and Juliet
  11. Wuthering Heights
  12. Macbeth
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  14. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  15. Memoirs of a Geisha
  16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of  Azkaban
  17. Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire
  18. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  19. The Scarlet Letter
  20. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  21. Catching Fire
  22. Mockingjay

Breaking down the list

So it will take me a while to sort out my first reviews but I thought I would write a quick post to breakdown the list before I get started. Out of the one hundred books on the list I have previously read twenty two which I will be rereading for the purposes of this blog as it has been a long time since I discovered some of them!

To breakdown the list I thought I would highlight a few of the titles which I’m most excited about and some of the ones which I am a little dubious about:

Cant wait to reread: Jane Eyre.. It’s my favourite book in the world, I just adore it and have several copies one of which is lovingly over read and dog eared.

Most excited to read for the first time: In Cold Blood.. This may seem like a strange choice but my taste in literature is diverse to say the least! I have a huge collection of crime books both fact and fiction so this one definitely appeals to that side of me.

Ashamed I’ve never read: Anne Frank: The Diary of my Life.. I just feel like I should have already read this.

One I’ll eventually get to but will keep putting off: The Time Traveller’s Wife.. You know the saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” I have to admit I’m judging this book by it’s movie and that’s why I am apprehensive about starting this one but I’m sure it’s not that bad.