Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review ~ The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Release Date: January 3rd, 2011 (first published 2009)
Published By: Berkley Publishing Group
Page Amount: 522 pages, Paperback

GoodReads Blurb: 
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Where to begin? Well, it took me a long time to finish this book. And that wasn't at all because I thought that it was a 'bad book'; I think that it was because there was just so much to take in. I wanted to read it slowly. 

I thought that the characters in this story were excellent. Especially the three main characters: Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. To me, they were well rounded and well thought out. They seemed real to me. I cared about what happened to them. The characters that I had, let's say, less sympathy for really grated my nerves - to put it lightly. Even these characters seemed real to me, though. Which made it easier to get involved in the plot of the story. 

The main plot was phenomenal and well executed. Kathryn Stockett pulled in historical events to make the impact of all of this seem more real. It helped to ground me in the story. There were sub-plots as well, of course. A few of the instances did seem irrelevant to the main plot of the story. However, I do believe that many of the scenes from these sub-plots helped to enhance the main plot line. It made the reader, or me at least, realize how all encompassing the issue of race really was at this time. And what may or may not happen to someone who tried to go about writing a book about "The Help"; and of course the people who helped them. 

I also thought that the writing style was good. It was simple and direct yet poetic at the same time. It drew me in even more. 

Also, the edition that I have has an essay by Kathryn Stockett at the end f it called "Too Little, Too Late". I thought that this essay was excellent. Not all of it was pretty or what you would want to read but it was very eye-opening. It explains why Kathryn Stockett wrote The Help. It really gives more insight into what made this book come about. I suggest trying to find this and read it. 

Overall, I thought that this book was excellent. I had to give it 5 stars. 

<3 Amanda Leigh

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