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The Help by Kathryn Stockett - review

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❶Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers.

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At the end of the novel, what final words does Aibileen want Mae Mobley to remember?
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Kathryn Stockett

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You can also state some special requests, such as, which approach our book review writers should take. Payment for our services will be processed quickly, so as soon as you order the reviewer of the content will start to work on it. The Help , Kathryn Stockett's debut novel, tells the story of black maids working in white Southern homes in the early s in Jackson, Mississippi, and of Miss Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, a year-old graduate from Ole Miss, who returns to her family's cotton plantation, Longleaf, to find that her beloved maid and nanny, Constantine, has left and no one will tell her why.

Skeeter tries to behave as a proper Southern lady: She plays bridge with the young married women; edits the newsletter for the Junior League; and endures her mother's constant advice on how to find a man and start a family.

However, Skeeter's real dream is to be a writer, but the only job she can find is with the Jackson Journal writing a housekeeping advice column called "Miss Myrna. Aibileen works tirelessly raising her employer's child Aibileen's seventh one and keeps a tidy house, yet none of this distracts her from the recent loss of her own son who died in an accident at work while his white bosses turned away.

Two events bring Skeeter and Aibileen even closer: Skeeter is haunted by a copy of Jim Crow laws she found in the library, and she receives a letter from a publisher in New York interested in Skeeter's idea of writing the true stories of domestic servants. Skeeter approaches Aibileen with the idea to write narratives from the point of view of 12 black maids.

Aibileen reluctantly agrees, but soon finds herself as engrossed in the project as Skeeter. They meet clandestinely in the evenings at Aibileen's house to write the book together as the town's struggles with race heat up all around them. Aibileen brings in her best friend, Minny, a sassy maid who is repeatedly fired for speaking her mind, to tell her story, too.

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?

View all 25 comments. The Help is a touching novel that explores the lives of black maids living in the racially unjust, Mississippi in the s, by using the perspective of two black maids and a female, white writer.

Minny and Aibileen are the two maids who are close friends and like many other maids, have spent the majority of their life cleaning up after white families and raising their kids. Skeeter is the third character the novel centres around, she fondly remembers her own maid, Constantine but lacks informatio The Help is a touching novel that explores the lives of black maids living in the racially unjust, Mississippi in the s, by using the perspective of two black maids and a female, white writer.

Skeeter is the third character the novel centres around, she fondly remembers her own maid, Constantine but lacks information about her disappearance and current whereabouts. Her ambition to write and love for her childhood carer lead her and the maids to eventually come together and become invoved in a dangerous project which puts all their lives at risk. This novel hooked me from the start as it deals with important issues and gives a unique perspective with interesting characters. It looks at the civil rights movement from a different angle as it uses maids who help in a very different way, as they simply describe their work so it can be printed into a book.

However, it is not as simple as just telling their story as their eventual willingness to outline their work, immediately puts everyone involved in a threatening position. This danger lurks over all the maids involved for the whole story, creating tension and atmosphere.

The novel switches between three characters,Aibileen,Minny and Skeeter. I loved all of the characters especially Minny as she'll talk back and can be quite funny.

Her interactions with her employers and others is a delight to read as she's written so well. All viewpoints are gripping but for me, Minny was definitely the best and I would have prefered if she had more chapters than Skeeter. I enjoyed Kathryn Stockett's writing as I thought she did an excellent job at creating tension,painting an image and giving the characters complexities.

The plot was engrossing as there was never a dull moment and no parts I felt needed to be cut out. For me, this was a fantastic book which I thought dealt with racial themes and inequality brilliantly. This is a book I would definitely pick up again.

View all 26 comments. This is a powerful story about women's relationships with each other, and how they are affected by race and class , told from the viewpoints of three women two black maids and a young white woman. It is set in segregated Jackson, Mississippi, in , at the dawn of the civil rights movement, but it's local and domestic, rather than looking at the big picture. The first third of the book establishes the main characters and their situation and relationships; the rest of it revolves around a This is a powerful story about women's relationships with each other, and how they are affected by race and class , told from the viewpoints of three women two black maids and a young white woman.

The first third of the book establishes the main characters and their situation and relationships; the rest of it revolves around a dangerous plan to write about their lives: It is a novel about individuals, and makes no pretence of being a history of the civil rights movement, but given the subject matter, it arouses strong feelings see below, including comments, for some of the reasons.

Passions run high in those with direct experience or detailed knowledge of racial issues in the US. My comments are the reaction of a fairly ignorant outsider. For a deeper, more complex, and educational for me way of looking at the legacy of slavery on race relations, see Octavia Butler's Kindred , review here.

It's also about other relationships, especially between women: Husbands don't generally come out of it well. There is an awkward pact involved for white mothers: As Skeeter says, "They raise a white child and then 20 years later the child becomes the employer. It's that irony that we love them and they love us, yet we don't even allow them to use the toilet in the house". There are opportunities to sway young minds and Aibileen tries especially hard , whilst thinking, "Baby Girl, who I know, deep down, I can't keep from turning out like her mama".

The maids' jobs and colour also have a negative effect on their own mothering. Not only do some of the white children feel the help loves them more than their own mothers; in some cases they are right, and that causes other tensions and problems. Yet firing the help is not always an option: The three main characters are very strong women, and each gradually finds the strength to follow her conscience, despite the personal risks, to the point where Skeeter realises "I no longer feel protected because I am white".

They learn, grow, awaken, and take some control over the future. However, if I were an African-American, or raised in the deep south, I'm sure these aspects would seem much less significant in comparison to the race theme. When I read this, I had no idea how accurate any of it is I have subsequently learned of many doubts , but in terms of individual relationships, it rings true to this Brit, especially the different voices through which the story is told.

It was also interesting that the maids were so used to "the lines", that they disliked it when they were crossed, e. Not between her and me, not between her and Hilly". Yet the maids train their own children into subjugation by teaching the rules "for working for a white lady". This has strange effects: All I know is, I ain't saying it. And I know she ain't saying what she want a say either and it's a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation".

On the other hand , it seems improbable that all the powerful white women in the town are only in their mid 20s. I presume that was necessary because they needed to be contemporaries of Skeeter, and she needed to be young, but it still made me question the story in broader terms. That creates a tension in the reader that is quite powerful. The saddest white person is the little girl Aibileen cares for; she is a misfit in her own home, because her mother never bonded with her, "She like one a them baby chickens that get confused and follow the ducks around instead".

Aibileen tries hard to compensate, particularly by repeating the mantra "You kind, you smart, you important". Mind you, she also sows the seeds future disagreement with her parents by telling secret stories about a kind alien visitor called Marti a n Luther King who thinks all people are the same, and by wrapping identical sweets in different coloured wrappers to make the same point.

As Skeeter says, " The dichotomy of love and disdain living side by side is what surprises me ", and that was the core of the book for me. She is an ageing maid who cares for white children when they are young, then moves on.

Her own son died in an industrial accident at 24 and from then "A bitter seed was planted inside me. And I just didn't feel so accepting any more". Is this dialect accurate, patronising appropriation, or both? Minny is the other black voice: She speaks her mind, so has often been fired.

The final voice is Skeeter, the daughter of a plantation owner who has returned from college and is shocked to discover that the beloved maid who raised her has gone, and no one will tell her why. It should have been possible to mention them in a more natural way.

View all 35 comments. The Help is a tale of lines, color, gender and class, in the Jackson, Mississippi of the early s. This is a world in which black women work as domestics in white households and must endure the whims of their employers lest they find themselves jobless, or worse. It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Medgar Evers is murdered, and where spirit and hope are crushed daily.

It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Freedom Riders are taken from a bus, a place where segregation and racism are core belie The Help is a tale of lines, color, gender and class, in the Jackson, Mississippi of the early s. It is the Jackson, Mississippi where Freedom Riders are taken from a bus, a place where segregation and racism are core beliefs and where challenge to the status quo is met with resistance, to the point of violence. It is a time of political turmoil on the national stage, as the civil rights movement is picking up steam.

It is also a place where using the wrong bathroom could get a black person beaten to death. The Help sees this world through three sets of eyes, Aibeleen, a fifty-something black woman who has taken care of many white children and is beginning again with a newborn.

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Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early s, 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett shows the peak of racial segregation. The book is narrated by three very different women; Minny, a black maid unable.

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