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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.
- Should be turned into a movie!
A story about a young white girl in Mississippi who takes on a daring project to write about the help, the black women that live and work for the white people of the town. I love the three different perspectives given.
This book didn't seem over the top. The feelings described, the dilemmas, everything seemed genuine within the context of the time and the characters described. I felt a sense of authenticity from the book.
Honestly, as soon as I finished it I thought this needs to be made into a movie. It would be a beautiful movie. I can picture the characters on the screen. The author has done a wonderful job with her first novel. I truly look forward to reading more by her in the future....more info
- Wonderful read!
What an absolutely wonderful book! I fell in love with all three women and hated to have them leave me at the end of the book. I am going to recommend this book to all my friends. I look forward to Kathryn Stockett's future novels!!...more info
- Another Great Southern Novel
Stockett's book is an easy read that delves into deeper issues. Most Mississippians and other Southerners over the age of 50 will see events of their childhoods through her book's characters. Highly recommended....more info
- True life experiences
I really enjoyed this book. I was raised in the midwest and didn't have to deal with all of the uproar that was going on in the South. I enjoyed the pictures that the story painted of what life was truely like. I have reccommended this book to all of my friends....more info
- I loved this book.
There are very few books that would prompt me to write a review but I absolutely loved this book. I was born in the south in the 50's and these stories remind me so much of my mother's stories from that time. I read a lot and there are many books that I enjoy, but this was one I couldn't wait to get back to....more info
- Great read!
This title is highly recommended .... as I am still reading the book, am unable to give a complete review. However, so far, the book is very good reading. ...more info
- Three Women as Strong As Velvet Lined Bricks
This book is so readable and such a gem that it was hard to put down. Despite it being over 400 pages, I read it in three days - - and I am not a fast reader.
It is about a lot of things. In a nutshell, it takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's during the time of Martin Luther King, JFK's assassination, Bob Dylan's singing, sit-ins, and the Civil Rights Movement. It made me remember why I marched in Washington for Civil Rights and how I cried when I heard Martin Luther King give his 'I have a dream...... " speech. It brought me back to those special times.
This book is about the lines that separate people in the Mississippi of that era - - but also those lines that merge, that cross each other and bring people together. It is about 'the help', the black women who work for white genteel ladies of the south. These same genteel ladies call their servants 'nigras' when they are polite and another word beginning with 'n' when they are impolite.
It is a book about prejudice and hope, about racism and inclusion, about love and about hate. It is told from the vantage point of three women, 2 older black women who work as 'help', and a 24 year-old white woman who has a vision that is different from those she grew up with.
The black women are Aibileen and Minny. Minny can be a brick but she also has a soft and beautiful heart . She is capable of 'The Great Awful' which you will read about. Aibileen is like a velvet lined brick. She has a vision of beauty and love that is fierce and solid within her. She teaches the children she takes care of to love themselves and to believe in the power of goodness. Skeeter, the white woman, is testing the waters of change, getting her feet wet by questioning things that have always remained silent in her life. She has a fierce determination and a solid core.
This is a wonderful book, one that will keep you up at night long past your bedtime - - and you won't regret having stayed up to read!...more info
- A Can't-Miss Read
This is a great book, which switches between the viewpoints of African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, and Skeeter Phelan, a wealthy white girl who is just a little different from her peers, and decides to write a book chronicling their stories.
All of the characters have great voices and are very readable and believable. Stockett clearly has a lot of knowledge in this area and shares her own story at the end of the book, which I found very interesting. If you like Southern lit, and are a fan of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood or Gods in Alabama (two of my favorites), you must read this book immediately. You'll love it, it is one of my new favorites (and I don't use that term lightly!)...more info
A baby boomer, I related to a lot of the external happenings in this book. Raised in the North however, the maid's stories were revealing. It amazes me that this is Ms. Stockett's first novel. Wonderful read. ...more info
- Made me laugh out loud and shed profuse tears
This is one of the best stories I've read in a long time. I wish there were more books like this out there. Great...no...INSPIRING story, compelling characters painted with lots of texture and detail. Just superb....more info
- The Help
I read The Help in one day. The story is heart-warming, suspenseful, sad, and funny all at the same time. The characters and the relationships are so real, I found myself cheering for them out loud. I have not read a story I was so taken with in a very long time. Read this book!...more info
This book is superb on a number of different levels. The story relies on racial tension in the South at the beginning of the civil rights movement to speak to the reader about that issue of course, but also about class distinctions, women's rights, motherhood, and the power of a single courageous act.
I was born in Texas in 1960, and race was more a source of confusion than controversy. My paternal grandfather was a lawyer and an early advocate for racial equality in the 50's. My maternal grandmother, Meme, was the most unabashedly prejudiced person I have ever met. Meme had a black maid named Beulah who had six fingers and six toes, which I found creepy as a child. But I loved Beulah, extra digits and all, and since I could never reconcile Meme's prejudice with the clearly loving relationship between her and her black maid, I decided that having extra fingers and toes somehow made up for being black. The Help brilliantly lays out the almost schizophrenic relationship between white women and their black maids during those early years of the civil rights movement.
But white women with black maids are a rarity today and it is politically incorrect to be overtly prejudiced, so, while of historical interest, if that was the whole of the book's message, I would consider it a 3 or maybe 4 star book, and certainly wouldn't have bothered with a review. I think this book is as much about women's relations as it is about race relations. And by women's relations, I am not referring only to women's rights. I also mean how women treat women.
Ms. Stockett uses the maid storyline to speak to some of the issues women face - physical abuse, poverty and its impact on the family, the importance of education, the risk of being completely dependant upon someone else, the distinction between giving birth and being the real, in the trenches mother, the viscous way women can treat other women, the facade of perfectionism that women still build and the resulting isolation and despair -- issues which, unlike the maid storyline, are still with us today. The women in the book are in turn appalling, heroic, heartbreaking, cruel, helpless, and courageous. And they are very real.
Read this book for its sheer entertainment value, but also with an eye towards understanding the way our culture influences women - okay, I am just going to say it although I know it will be controversial - the way the right wing reactionary conservative movement continues to politically, economically and educationally disenfranchise women to this day.
Read the book and ask yourself what social changes since the 50's have been true and lasting, and what remains at heart the same. I believe the answer may surprise you.
And do read it. ...more info
- The Help
I loved this book and it will probably be one of my all time favorites. I listened to it on tape and the fact that it was read by four different women in the voices of the black women characters and the southern women gave a whole new and colorful aspect to the book. I think it was a favorable enancemet to the book. I will be looking for a movie since I think it lends itself to one. The characters were well developed and real. The story line kept me enticed throughout. Many Kudos to Kathryn Stockett....more info
- Fantastic First
This superbly written first novel was enjoyed, without exception, by my daytime book club members. Other than some comments upon the "lame ending" (like an essay cut short by time limits), the novel was a treasure of in-depth personalities and a lovely, but haunting, review of the evolving race and gender issues at the time. ...more info
I absolutely loved this book and just finished, I read it every moment I could steal away in the last few days. (Not a fast reader and it speaks volumes that I read the 444 pages that quickly.) I was absolutely captivated, felt so attached to the characters and loved learning more about the South in the 1960s and the Civil Rights era...felt like she put me right there in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. I hope Kathryn Stockett is busy with other books! I can't believe this is her first novel it is so well written and moving. Read it!! You'll love it!...more info
- I See the Nobel Prize for Literature in Kathryn Stockett's Future
I won't rehash what the book is about, as many reviewers have already done this. I will just say that I am stunned at the beauty of this novel. I am from the south (Georgia) and I remember that we had "help" when I was growing up, a timid, down-trodden lady named Mary who was, I believe, regularly abused by her husband. I remember that some of our neighbors were disturbed that my mom asked Mary to call her by her first name, Jenny, and not to call her Miss Jenny. I also remember, to my shame and embarrassment, asking Mary to bring me a box of crayons from my bedroom as I did not want to get up and get them myself, and getting a thorough tongue-lashing from my mother who sharply, and rightly, reminded me that Mary was not a servant.
This fine novel is very much worth reading. I postponed my regular daily activities and devoted myself to it until it was done. My only complaint is that there were a few loose ends. I won't list them as I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, but I would have liked a bit more information about the eventual fates of some of the characters. But don't let this small flaw deter you from a very fine book....more info
- Good read, historical fiction
This book was easy & fun to read. It is about the plight of black women who worked as housekeepers in the sixties. It is meaningful historically, but also just a good read....more info
- The Characters are Still in My Head
I finished The Help a few days ago, and the characters are still in my head. I felt that each one brought a needed perspective to the story as a whole, and enjoyed following their journey through this period of time. Born in 1958 in the north, I was unaware of domestic help practices in the south during this time. Thus, naturally now I feel enlightened, and saddened, and a lot less naive.
At some points in the book, I may not have rated it as high as 5 stars, simply because I became a little impatient with the progress of the story line. But upon finishing the book, the way the characters grew and the way the author set up their futures was rewarding and worth the wait. I think this book provides enough lightheartedness to be a good beach book this summer, but with plenty of emotion and heart-touch to move the reader to tears.
Especially touching was the relationship between "The Help" and the children, with Aibileen's nurturing thoughts and actions so predominantly and honestly presented. It must have been a most dichotomous life for "The Help", and their often angry bravery and perseverance is not lost on the reading audience. Memorable characters, insight into a regional period of time and their practices, and a rewarding story line make The Help a great read this summer.
- Even better as a listen
Don't buy the book - get it in audiobook format. It is amazing!
I listen to about 30 audiobooks a year commuting and running and this one is the best I've listened to. Each narrators' point of view is read by a different reader and the quality is outstanding.
Listening, rather than reading, a great book brings out the best of the book for me because it forces me to stay on the same pace through the book and not rush through the exciting parts or the parts that one dreads to finish. It draws out the emotion of the moment and makes a sweet moment sweeter and a poignant moment more touching.
I can't say enough postive words about the book but if you are an audiobook fan, either go to audible.com and download the book or go to your local bookstore and buy it. You'll remember it want to share it with all your friends and family. ...more info
- A surprisingly enjoyable read
This book didn't look appealing at first. Kindle has this fabulous feature where you can sample a book before you buy. The sample is pretty long and by the time I got to the end of it, I was in a hurry to hit the BUY button. I'm Asian, grew up in Asia, never met a black person till I was 25 and have never been to the South. Don't know much about segregation during the 60's other than bits and pieces I'd gleaned from TV or movies. It's hard to read about the injustices that African Americans were (are?) subjected to without feeling really angry but this book managed to make me laugh despite my outrage. It wasn't a depressing drag of a book at all! I loved the characters and managed to finish this book in a weekend even though I have small kids. A lovely read.I hope you try it!...more info
This is such a touching book. I can't tell enough people...please go read this! It will fill you heart and make you sad when the book ends that the story can't go on....more info
- It was so good I didn't get anything done this weekend!
I just love books that get me right from the start. I couldn't wait to read the ending. Everything I had to do this weekend interfered with my reading! I couldn't wait to get back to it. You felt like you knew the characters personally. This book and "Water for Elephants" are my two favorites so far this year. Great story, I will anxiously await her next novel....more info
- wonderful book!
While reading this terrific book I kept thinking about my experiences growing up in the deep south in the 60's. I objected a bit to the depiction of the white women's treatment of their "help" because I remember that it was a point of pride to treat the help well and as "part of the family." At the same time, though, there was more going on. I remember asking my mother, a New York yankee by the way, why there were separate water fountains and restrooms for "colored" and she paused a moment and then answered that they just aren't as clean as we are. I never went to school with a black person even through college. I was told that black people aren't as smart or capable as whites and need white people to watch over them and be kind to them as you would be to an animal. I'd say there was abuse going on, though maybe not the exact kind as in the book, at least in my time and place. I think this book is a must read, especially for younger people who might not realize the HUGE strides that have been made toward fairness in the last decades....more info
- Great, easy read that you cant put down !!!
This was a really good book. I read it on a road trip and I didnt want to put it down. It's very light and still grabbing. I really loved it and am looking for more from this author in the future :)...more info
- Wonderful Read
This is a terrific book! I finished in 3 days, because I found it very hard to put down. Ms. Stocket writes clearly and with skilled word usage. She paints a very accurate picture of the 1960's in the south. Her book recalls the tension of the civil rights era and the blatent unfairness of segregation. This book will put into context , for those who did not live in the sixties, how far we have come and will remind us who did live then, why it had to change....more info
- Great Story!
I am an avid, almost obsessive reader and I read 1 or more books a week. I usually read mystery, romantic mystery and things along those lines. The Help caught my eye and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I am so glad that I did!
This book is timely, poignont, memorable and beautifully written. I found myself rooting for each of the heroines. My only complaint was that I never wanted it to end.
I was born and raised in the south in 1965 - right in the heart of the civil rights era. I had "colored" women that assisted us in our home and were always just a part of the family. But now - looking back - I hope we truly treated these ladies as a part of our family.
This is a book that I will re-read and think about for years to come! I highly recommend The Help!...more info
I couldn't put this book down! I simply fell in love with every character and wanted to continue reading forever. I found myself putting the book down just so I didn't have to finish it!
This book put you right at the scene and you can clearly picture everything going on as if it was right in front of you. I can't wait to see what Kathryn Stockett comes out with next!
I recommend this book as the perfect summer read. ...more info
- Top of The List - You Must Read This Book!
The Help is a fantastic book. I continue to think about it - the characters, the story, and the theme. Definitely NOT a read-and-forget-it type of book.
The story focuses on 3 women - a wealthy young white woman, and 2 "colored" maids; 1 older woman who lives alone, and 1 younger woman with kids and a husband. Together, these women embark on a writing project to help facilitate change in racist, 1962 Mississippi. Skeeter, the unmarried college-educated, lives-at-home white woman is writing the stories of the maids, Aibileen and Minnie, and their experiences, good and bad, with the "white ladies" for whom they work.
I loved all 3 of these characters, and rooted for them through the entire book. But beyond the characters, the book made me think about myself - who I am, and how I might have been if I been one of these "white ladies". The stories showed several versions, and I hope I would have been one of the better ones. The Civil Rights theme hit me in a new way - it seemed more current, and relevant - not so much as old history. I find it shocking that such racism existed - such a separation of white and colored people. After considering what kind of "white lady" I would have been, I thought about how it would have been to be Aibileen or Minnie - would I have had their strength? And then I reached deeper inside to consider what kinds of discrimination exist today, in my life, that might seem so "what were they thinking" in 45 years. And who will I choose to be? Definitely not Hilly!
I couldn't put The Help down, and I find myself continually picking it back up. It was an enjoyable, fast read, that surprised me by being more meaningful than anything I have read in quite a while.
Bottom Line - I'm recommending this book to everyone, but they can't have my copy. I'm keeping it!...more info
- The Help
A story masterfully told from the perspective of people who served white families in the south during the1960's. It makes you appreciate the sacrifices generations of African Americans made to support their own families. This book was well written and iswell worth taking the time to read.Enjoy!...more info
- The Help
What an excellent book. An easy read hard to put down. Great characters that you find so likeable. A real eye opener as to life in the south in the 60s. I willrecommend to all my book reading friends....more info
- Help where it's needed
Although this beautiful story is told from the perspective of three women, the characterizations of the auxilliary players are as clear-cut as the central protagonists. The author has chosen Jackson Mississippi in the early '60's and writes with a sure hand despite the fact that it is her parents' generation and not hers that is presented. The afterward is particularly valuable in order to glean a complete picture of Kathryn Stockett's motivations for writing the book, and for the deep compassion with which she has written it. I must add that although I grew up in Delaware, far north of Mississippi, I shared a similar experience with a caretaker; and a day doesn't go by that I don't remember Nettie with love and longing. ...more info
- Absolutely great book!
Such a great book, couldn't stop reading, thoughtful, insightful - - hated for it to end....more info