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The Help by Kathryn Stockett: review

KIRKUS REVIEW

❶A mix of humour and social justice, the reader is faced with a powerful piece on which to ponder while remaining highly entertained. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past

Kathryn Stockett

At the end of the novel, what final words does Aibileen want Mae Mobley to remember?
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How do these women really treat their maids? Though the book would be published anonymously and no locations would be given, the stories provide enough detail so that the premise that the book could be received as being about Anywhere, USA defies belief.

Further, while having the book's source known might subject Skeeter to social ostracism, this is the s in Missa-fuckin-sippi in the middle of the very tense civil rights' battles. For the maids, discovery would mean loss of a job with no hope of getting another position and retribution that could include being falsely accused of a crime and jailed or even being injured or killed.

Despite the underlying tension and references to violent events that do occur, the book teeters. At times, I was furious and in tears over the effing racism and the tragedies described.

But Kathryn Stockett keeps pulling back. It's as though she wants it both ways. Let's divulge the incredible cruelty and violence that black people routinely endured, but let's also show the goodness of some white people and soft-pedal the whole thing into a broader theme, i. You can't have it both ways. Though some of the women are kinder to their maids, they did not fight against the "separate but equal" indignities that included building a "nigra" toilet in their home or garage so that the maids' "nasty" germs would not infect them, the separate entrances, the substandard schools, the "justice" system that made a white accusation the same as proof, and on and on and on.

I don't want a book to make me cry and then pull back and say, "It's all right. If you're going to write a book about this horrible time in our history - and in a country where racism is still alive and well - then do it all out. What these women endured deserves more. Don't put it out there and then pull back and use a Doris Day lens.

View all 53 comments. While it was a well-written effort, I didn't find it as breathtaking as the rest of the world. It more or less rubbed me the wrong way. It reads like the musings of a white woman attempting to have an uncomfortable conversation, without really wanting to be uncomfortable.

It's incredibly hard to write with integrity about race and be completely honest and vulnerable. And if her intent isn't anything greater, th While it was a well-written effort, I didn't find it as breathtaking as the rest of the world. And if her intent isn't anything greater, then it makes this book all the more pandering to the white imagination of what it must have been like to be "the help" during that era.

It's passive self-reflection at best and utterly useless. The national fascination with this book makes me sick. It makes me think of my grandmother who was "the help" to many white families for well over 50 years. Her stories aren't too different from those told in this book, but they are hers to tell. If she were alive today, I don't believe she would praise Stockett's book.

In fact, I think she we would be horrified at the thought that her years of hard work in some cases, for some very horrible people would be reduced to some wannabe feel good story of the past. View all 55 comments. Nov 27, Lola rated it really liked it Shelves: You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today? B-but… The Help is different. We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect.

Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story. She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down? No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit. He is the most frustrating part of the story, really. We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book. Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book. I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie.

Apr 08, karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 84 comments. Apr 02, Kai rated it it was amazing Shelves: Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought. This novel did so many things to me. There was lots of crying Find more of my books on Instagram. View all 14 comments. Jan 12, Majenta rated it it was amazing. But she's struggling mightily to deal with grief over the death of her something son, and she SURE doesn't think conditions will ever improve for African-American domestic-engineering servants in earlys Jackson, Mississippi or anywhere else in the South.

Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a "I know what a froat is and how to fix it. Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a maid since she was very young, and on the first day of her first job her mother admonished her that sass-mouth, especially her degree of it, is highly dangerous--but it's not long before she's just gotta mouth off As Minny's first "episode" of the book opens, she is yet again looking for a new job, and this time an opportunity pretty much falls into her lap.

Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante. Oh, one more thing: I think this plotline was my favorite part. Celia's husband had formerly gone with even been engaged to?

But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny: View all 12 comments. Jan 07, James rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads I should share my views so others can decide if it's a good book for them. I'll have to check out some other people's reviews And I wonder how many people just watched the I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads And I wonder how many people just watched the movie I'll keep this review short and not in my usual format, as probably everyone I'm friends with on here has already read it!

The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is because I felt like some of the stories needed a better or stronger ending. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past Scary thoughts, but in the end, at least the right people got something back they deserved, even if it wasn't as much as it should have been.

The characters are very clear and strong. And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task.

Each and every one shows you a different personality: When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future. I haven't read anything else by this author, but just thinking about this book, and realizing I haven't looked at her other works makes me want to run to her profile now and pick one. Perhaps that's what I'll go do!

About Me For those new to me or my reviews I read A LOT. I write A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https: Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. View all 30 comments. Dec 01, Nancy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Audio books are good for me. I was so engrossed in the story and characters that I drove the speed limit on the highway and took the scenic route while running errands.

Sometimes I went out at lunch and needlessly drove in circles, or sat in the parking lot at work, waiting for a good place to stop. It is in Jackson, Mississippi. She is still grieving for her young son, who died in a workplace accident. The story jumps back and forth between the three characters, all of them providing their version of life in the South, the dinner parties, the fund-raising events, the social and racial boundaries, family relationships, friendships, working relationships, poverty, hardship, violence, and fear.

I loved this story! The characters really came alive for me, and the author did a good job acknowledging actual historical events which lent richness and authenticity to the story. I laughed and cried, felt despair and hope. This is an important story that is a painful reminder of past cruelty and injustice. It shows how far we have progressed and how much more we still have to accomplish. View all 54 comments. Mar 02, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: View all 11 comments.

Jul 10, Salome G rated it did not like it. This could have really used a better editor. I didn't understand why the boyfriend character was even in there--he added nothing to the story. In addition, Skeeter keeps telling us that Hilly and Elizabeth are her friends but that's just it--she tells us. We never see why she would want to be friends with either of them, Hilly especially. Other characters were equally unbelievable.

All the maids are good people and so gracious to Miss Skeeter, save one. Reading their interactio The story itself: Reading their interactions with Skeeter, I was reminded of Chris Rock's bit about old black men: I was going to say that it borders on portraying her as a Magical Black Person because I didn't think she had magical powers, but then I remembered the part about how her fellow church members think her prayers are more powerful than others'.

Before reading, my question was, can Kathryn Stockett write this story? I read the whole book. I read the self-conscious afterword. Can Stockett write this story? Well, of course she can. I lean toward no. This is not her story to tell.

I was reminded of Lo's Diary and how Pia Pera said that she thought of a part in Lolita as an invitation to a a literary tennis match and so she had to write it and no, you didn't. And neither did Kathryn Stockett. She said that she wrote this book because it'd never occurred to her what her maid Demetrie's life was like. So she made up the story. And it was still all about the white lady. View all 46 comments. Mei You could argue that the boyfriend was there to show development in Skeeter's character.

Before she began writing her book, she put up with his secret You could argue that the boyfriend was there to show development in Skeeter's character. Before she began writing her book, she put up with his secret-keeping and general unsatisfactory treatment of her. By the end, however, she cast him aside because she realized how much better she deserved. Leslie Your review is everything I've been trying to articulate. I enjoyed parts of this story but for the most part, eh. It's like so so sex with someone.

Y Your review is everything I've been trying to articulate. Yeah it's good at times, but at the end, you wouldn't repeat it and the ending is flat. The ending really bothered me. White lady goes off and gets a great job while the black folks the story was about gets fired which was actually a blessing but a tragedy for the kids and leaves her husband to raise 6 kids alone. Don't get me wrong. Minny needed to leave Leroy. Elizabeth is still an idiot. There was nothing redeeming in this story.

Jun 18, Dana Ilie rated it it was amazing. There is a lot to like about this book. And I was impressed by the fairly even-handedness of the t There is a lot to like about this book.

And I was impressed by the fairly even-handedness of the topic that Stockett managed. There are good and bad and goodish-baddish people on every side of the issue, and each has different motivations and reasons for being where they are on that side — hate, pride, naivete, personal experiences. Three reasons why I love The Help: It is not a comedy but some lines just had me wanting to read on and on!

It is easy to read. Even though The Help talks about a very serious time in American history, the author really thought about how to write the story in a way that it just flows. I really felt a connection with each of the characters. You get to know them from their point of view. View all 18 comments. Mar 22, Tatiana rated it did not like it Shelves: I don't think this could be any more obvious, trite and cliche-ridden.

The book's only aim is to make white people feel better about themselves you know, that same old a-brave-white-lady-savior story you've read and a few dozen times before. View all 23 comments. Jul 03, Matt rated it it was amazing Recommended to Matt by: A mix of humour and social justice, the reader is faced with a powerful piece on which to ponder while remaining highly entertained.

In Jackson, Mississippi, the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement presented a time where colour was a strong dividing line between classes. Skeeter was unwed and with few prospects, though her time away at college left her ready to tackle the workforce until an eligible man swept her off her feet.

Skeeter sought a job as a writer, prepared to begin at the bottom rung, but not giving up on sleuthing around to determine what might have been going on in Jackson. Skeeter scored a job writing an informative column in the local newspaper, giving cleaning tips to housewives in need of a little guidance. Who better to offer these tips that the hired help of Jackson?!

With secret meetings taking place after working hours and Skeeter typing away, a mental shift took place and the idea of class became taboo, at least to some. However, sometimes a book has unforeseen consequences, turning the tables on everyone and forcing tough decisions to be made. Stockett pulls no punches in the presentation, fanning the flames of racial and class divisions, as she depicts a way of thinking that was not only accepted, but completely sanctioned.

Race relations in the United States has long been an issue written about, both in literature and pieces of non-fiction. How a country as prosperous as America could still sanction the mistreatment of a large portion of its citizens a century after fighting a war on the issue remains completely baffling. While Stockett focusses her attention on Mississippi, the conscious reader will understand that this sort of treatment was far from isolated to the state.

One might venture to say that racism continued on a worldwide scale, creating a stir, while many played the role of ostriches and denied anything was going on. The characters within the book presented a wonderful mix of society dames and household help, each with their own issues that were extremely important.

The characters bring stereotypes to life in an effort to fuel a raging fire while offering dichotomous perspectives. The interactions between the various characters worked perfectly, depicting each group as isolated and yet fully integrated. The household help bring the struggle of the double work day triple, at times while the society dames grasp to keep Mississippi from turning too quickly towards integration and equality, which they feel will be the end of all normalcy. Using various narrative perspectives, the characters become multi-dimensional.

Additionally, peppering the dialogue with colloquial phraseology pulls the story to a new level of reality, one that is lost in strict textbook presentation.

Stockett pushes the narrative into those uncomfortable places the reader hopes to keep locked in the pages of history, pushing the story to the forefront and requiring a synthesising of ideas and emotions. While racism is not as sanctioned in as many laws, it remains a strong odour and one that cannot simply be washed away by speaking a few words.

This book, as entertaining as it is in sections, is far from fictional in its depiction of the world. The sooner the reader comes to see that, the faster change can occur. All lives matter, if we put in the effort and have the presence of mind to listen rather than rule from our own ivory towers. Kudos, Madam Stockett for this wonderful piece. I am happy to have completed a buddy read on this subject and return to read what was a wonderful cinematic presentation. An ever-growing collection of others appears at: View all 33 comments.

Apr 17, Thomas rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Originally, I thought this book should have been retitled The Hype. At least that's what I told my friend. I remember thinking something along the lines of, blah, another story about racism in the old southern days? Must be the chick-lit version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

I was so wrong. There is Skeeter, a twenty-two-year-old aspiring writer who terribly misses her maid, Cons Originally, I thought this book should have been retitled The Hype.

There is Skeeter, a twenty-two-year-old aspiring writer who terribly misses her maid, Constantine. Aibileen is an experienced and knowledgeable black maid who is currently taking care of her seventeenth child, Mae Mobley, even though she realizes what's at stake for both of them. And Minny is a fierce, sassy cook who doesn't take nonsense from anyone, even when it risks her employment. This tumultuous trio takes the first step in sparking a movement that will ignite fire to the racism and hypocrisy of their small town.

My synopsis of the story probably isn't even a tenth of the merit it deserves. I don't want to spoil too much about the book, but the most amazing thing about The Help is its characters. They are so real, so lifelike, I could feel their thoughts pulsing through my head and their emotions racing through my veins.

I was angry alongside them, cheered for them, and cried with them. I think everyone should read this book, especially people who are ignorant about the racism and hypocrisy that still manages to plight everyday society.

The Help wasn't just a darn good read, but something that has made me reevaluate and examine my own morals. I'll never forget it. Want to read more of my reviews? The film not only teaches about segregation and the importance of racial equality, but it also shows how oppressed people have important stories to tell. The language is tame for a PG movie except for the word "s--t," which is used several times, and one casual use of the "N" word by a bus driver.

African Americans are referred to as "negro," and a grown-up restaurant worker is called "boy" by white patrons. There's no graphic violence, but a character is obviously physically abused by her husband, and a woman has a miscarriage, leaving her in a pool of her blood.

Reflecting the '60s setting, almost everyone even a pregnant woman smokes cigarettes and drinks. Add your rating See all 40 parent reviews. Add your rating See all 89 kid reviews. Skeeter Emma Stone is one of the few young women in her upper-crust circle to actually graduate from college.

She returns home to Jackson, Miss. Unfulfilled with her job as a household-tips columnist, Skeeter pitches a book idea to a New York city editor Mary Steenburgen: But first Skeeter must convince her friends' housekeepers -- starting with Aibileen Viola Davis -- to be interviewed for the project. Hesitant at first, Aibileen eventually relents and nudges her best friend, the recently fired Minny Octavia Spencer , to tell the truth about raising and loving white children who grow up to be just as racist as their parents.

All of the performances are remarkable in this drama. On the surface, The Help looks like yet another civil rights story told from the perspective of an open-minded white character who acts as the catalyst for change. But director Tate Taylor is careful not to put an overwhelming spotlight on Skeeter at the expense of Aibileen who narrates the drama or Minny. Stone continues to solidify her stellar reputation with her understated performance as the ambitious but slightly misfit young writer.

But the real revelations are Davis, who's such a nuanced actress that she can elicit a storm of emotions with her soul-piercing stare, and relative newcomer Spencer, who's not only playing the opinionated Minny but is her inspiration she's a close friend of both the author and director.

Both actresses are deserving of an Academy Award nominations. There's not a flat note in the production, although special mention must be made of scene-stealers Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. She's the Junior League set's queen bee and is so racist that she wants a bill passed forcing white homes to have a separate bathroom for their black servants. Chastain, who wowed critics in The Tree of Life , lets loose as Minny's kind and charismatic employer, who's desperate for a friend.

It sparks discussion, teaches a history lesson, and makes everyone think about how we treat others. And yes, don't forget the tissues. There will be weeping. Families can talk about how The Help depicts African Americans' struggle for racial equality. How accurate do you think it is? How could you find out more about this part of history?

Are the characters realistic? Do you consider any of them to be stereotypes? Some have criticized Stockett's story for making a white character central to the civil rights movement.

How is the movie sensitive to this issue? What did you learn about the South under Jim Crow laws? For those who've read the book, how faithful is the movie adaptation? What changes did you like? What do you wish the director had included? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support. Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate.

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A complete edition of John James Audubon's world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Friday 14 September The Help by Kathryn Stockett:

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Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush! I cannot gush enough about this book. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, follows the lives of three women living in Jackson, Mississippi. Two of the women, Aibilene and Minny are black, hired as help to wealthy, or trying to appear wealthy, white families/5.

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The book is narrated by three very different women; Minny, a black maid unable to keep a job due to her hot head, Aibileen, another black maid who is raising her 'seventeenth white child', and Miss Skeeter, at the opposite end of the .

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Summary and reviews of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, plus links to a book excerpt from The Help and author biography of Kathryn Stockett. I originally read the audio book edition of "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and later read it on my Kindle for book club. The Help is most definitely on my short list for all time favorite books. I am not sure which was better the audio book or the Kindle read. This is the first novel by this author and I do not know how she will ever top herself.

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Our Reading Guide for The Help by Kathryn Stockett includes a Book Club Discussion Guide, Book Review, Plot Summary-Synopsis and Author Bio. I originally read the audio book edition of "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett and later read it on my Kindle for book club. The Help is most definitely on my short list for all time favorite books. I am not sure which was better the audio book or the Kindle read. Goodreads Book reviews & recommendations: IMDb Movies, TV & Celebrities: IMDbPro /5(10K).