Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book Review: The Help

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett was one of the first books on my summer reading list.  I had heard very good reviews from friends and I became even more intrigued when I saw the movie trailer.  I was not disappointed.

"The Help" is set in Jackson, Mississippi during the civil rights movement.  Rosa Parks has made her voice heard by refusing to move to the back of the bus and Miss Skeeter has just returned home from Ole' Miss with a college degree in journalism, single and trying to understand the world she grew up in.  Aibileen is a black woman who has helped to raise white children all her life and loves each of them, but dreads that moment when they are told that black people are something less than those who are white. Minny has trouble navigating daily life as a maid because her mouth and feisty spirit keeps getting in the way.  The book is narrated through the voices of these three women as they come together to tell a story that has never been told before, the help's.

Well written and enjoyable, it is a book I would recommend, especially to those who enjoy realistic or historical fiction.  But, I feel I can't recommend the book without some reserve.  Some hint of exploitation lingers around this book.  Some of it comes from the controversy and lawsuit which implies that Stockett based one of the characters on an actual person without their permission.  My friend Amy, adds another concern to this discussion.  "One of the great book group discussion points for this book is whether Skeeter exploited the maids by writing their stories; has Stockett done a similar thing?" It is something to think about if you read "The Help."

Overall, Kathryn Stockett tells a beautiful tale of women and friendship; love and grief; and mothers and daughters.

Yours affectionately,

P.S. If you are looking for more book reviews, especially of YA novels, head over to Amy's blog.  She had some great picks!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Help! I can definitely see why it's been such a hit with book clubs--there are so many points for discussion surrounding the book beyond the usual plot, characters, and theme.