The Help: A Book Review

Hi!

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Summary: To make things easier to understand, I’ve decided to split the summary into three parts.

skeeter

Twenty-two  year old Skeeter has just graduated from college, only to go home and live with her parents again. Her pushy mother will not stop bugging her about her height and hair until she is married, and her father is barely around. Skeeter desperately wants to write, but the only thing she’s been offered is a housekeeping column. And, Skeeter has found that she just watches her two good friends, Hilly and Elizabeth, when they are jerks to their maids and/or kids. Under normal circumstances, Skeeter would find comfort in her maid, Constantine, the woman that’s raised her since she was a baby, but Constantine has disappeared, and no one wants to explain what happened. She has to learn to stand up for herself, but in the 1960’s of Mississippi, that takes a LOT of courage…

aibileen

Mae Mobley is the seventeenth white child Aibileen has raised. Seventeenth. After her own son died, the little girl may be the only child Aibileen has left. Her days are the same: clean, take care of Mae Mobley, and cook, but maybe it’s about time for a change. One night, one of her boss’ friends, Miss Skeeter, comes to the kitchen to talk, of all things, to Aibileen. This isn’t “normal.” Aibileen is supposed to make dinner and polish silverware, not help a white women with a housekeeping column. And, know, Miss Skeeter wants to write a book!? Aibileen is forced to make a decision. Risk her job to reveal the truth, or continue to wait on middle-class white families for the rest of her life?

missy

 Missy has lost yet another job. But this time around, it’s going to be even harder to find work. Miss Hilly, the daughter of Missy’s old boss, has spread rumors that Missy stole from her mother! No white women would hire Missy now if they listen to Hilly. But, then things change, and Missy is granted with a new opportunity. No one ever talks to Celia Foote, after what she did to Miss Hilly, but Celia needs a maid. With never hearing the rumors, she won’t suspect a thing! Missy is grateful for her new job, but why does Miss Celia constantly sit around in bed? Missy may have some secrets {like working on a specific book} but it’s Miss Celia that’s up to something.

My Thoughts: The Help is one of those books that are always on tour TBR list. I finally began it when I was home sick the other day, and I just finished it up this morning. It was a good novel, but with the amount of attention, press, and praise, I was expecting a bit more. It was a perfectly fine story, but I didn’t find it award-winning, nor earth-shattering, you know? It is told in three points of view: Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, and Missy. Stockett made sure each had a distinct voice, so I rarely had to flip back to remember who I was reading about. However, Aibileen and Missy had an accent, which was overly used, in my opinion, while Miss Skeeter did not. I see what the author was going for, trying to point out that the maids were less educated {which I don’t necessarily agree with} but certainly Skeeter would have had some sort of accent, correct? I would have made each have a clear and consistent voice, or I wouldn’t have used it all. Maybe some more research would have helped… WIth that aside, the story was a delight to read. It kept me engaged, and it moved much quicker than I anticipated. I may be a bit bias, considering how much I love to read about this time period, but the story was pretty developed. It could use some improvement, but it’s still solid at this point. I enjoyed reading about Missy and Aibileen over Skeeter. I think it was just how entertaining each one was. Skeeter was plain, I’ll put it that way. I did like when she and Stuart together, but I can see why it ended the way it did. They were such a cute couple :) I can’t believe how stupid she was to be friends with Hilly, and even Elizabeth. She figured it out in the middle, and I was like “Yeah. It took you long enough to figure out that you’ve been hanging with jerks!” Lou Anne was so sweet, and I saw a possible friendship developing? Stockett went the stereotypical route, and made Aibileen wise and Missy sassy, which is fine, but it would have been nice to see something different. Miss Hilly was a jerk right to the very end! I hated her with all my heart :/ It takes a LOT to make me dislike a character that much. I’m glad I read The Help, but I probably won’t read it again.

Pros: Strong story and character development.

Cons: Very stereotype based. The writing was also unclear at time, i.e. the points of view and voices.

Heads Up: The topic is something a bit difficult to talk about. I guess it all depend son how you feel about it. There is plenty of talk of romance, a few language issues, and a baby incident.

Overall: I give it 4 {****} stars. I recommend it for ages 13/14/15 and up. {I’m not really sure on this one.}

Now to watch the movie!

Bella :)

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