Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Help [book review]

I'm so thankful for folks that have such great taste in reading material, because without them, I never would have discovered The Help by Kathryn Stockett. While it took me longer than I expected to get through it, it was a fantastic read and I'm still in shock over the fact that this was her first book, for it was beautifully written.

The Help is historical fiction, set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's, during a time when segregation between races was a fierce issue. The story is told by three distinct voices... all strong minded and compassionate women living in Jackson. 

Aibileen is a black maid working for a typical Southern white family and practically raising their children, while still suffering the pain from the loss of her own son. Miss Skeeter is a white college graduate who dreams of becoming a writer in New York City, but knows she won't get far living with her parents and restricting herself with writing weekly cleaning columns in the local paper. Minny is Aibileen's best friend, another maid who can't seem to hold a job due to her inability to filter her mouthy comments, even though she has multiple children and a drunk husband to care for. 

These three strong women, as different as they can be, come together when the question "what if things could change?" is presented. Together, they form a movement that will forever change their town.

This book was absolutely wonderful. I quickly became extremely enamored with the characters, and their passion for the cause they're supporting is amazing and so inspiring. Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny risk their entire lives to change the opinions of everyone in their town, to start a movement, to make a difference. They want to change the way that women look at one another... they want women to remember that despite the difference in their skin tones, they are all mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. 

The Help was definitely a powerful, heartwarming, and inspiring read... the amount of love and compassion streaming from the characters allows you to love them, despite their obvious flaws. Each woman has their individual voice, which Stockett clearly researched in depth in order to make it so real. Stockett did a wonderful job portraying the everyday lives of the women in the book, from the black maid, to the rich white woman, to the mother of the single college graduate. It's clear that the writing of this book came from the heart and from personal experience, which makes it all the more respectable, in my opinion. 

To know how much the women living in Jackson went through during this time makes me feel extremely fortunate to have grown up in a later generation, but allows me to truly appreciate the actions of past characters to ensure our freedoms. I love every single one of the characters in this novel, and I would have been proud to be a part of their movement, to have made such a difference, to have stirred the pot so effectively.


  1. great review! i was on the hunt for a new book this weekend and sadly didn't pick one up while at Target but will def. write this one down! thank you friend!

  2. if you're on the hunt, pick up The Hunger Games a well! I just finished the last book of the trilogy this afternoon!

  3. Thanks love for the great review! I was on the hunt for a new book also this weekend and managed to pick up one by Christine Feehan. But I will definitely check this out as soon as I finish the one I am currently reading.

  4. Thank you for the review - makes me want to read it that much more! I really have to sit down for some me time and pick it up. I am struggling just to keep up with my regular blogging and e-mails right now though!!

  5. I read this book a few months ago and absolutely LOVED it!!!

  6. did you hear they're making a movie? cannot wait for it!!


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