Saturday, June 05, 2010

Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

First line: Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960.

From the inside cover: 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 girls 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.

My thoughts:  WOW...I really enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to purchase the book instead of borrowing it from the library. I think it might be one of the best books I have read in a long time.  It is a moving look at a time in history that unfortunately still gets played out in today's society. It is an intelligent, engrossing, thought-provoking tale with vivid characters, a story line filled with some suspense and humor interspersed throughout. It is a tale that stays with you long after you have read that last line. The author has a very engaging and charming way of inviting you into the book - you feel as though  you are part of the story, that the characters are neighbors just down the street from you. With many lessons throughout the book, perhaps that one that resonates the most is that "the color of the wrapper doesn't matter, it's what's inside that counts." Not only can that be applied to life, but also to the cover of this book. The picture is sort of bland, and to be honest, prevented me from picking it up sooner. But inside is a story well worth being read. I am so glad my book club selected this book - otherwise it would have remained at the bottom to my to-be-read pile. Kathryn Stockett is definitely an author to keep your eye on!

(I purchased this book.)

5 comments:

  1. My book club read this one too, and it was universally liked. The thing that struck me the most was the courage of all of those women taking power in their lives for the very first time. Amazing!

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  2. I really need to get my hands on this book. I have heard nothing but good things about it!

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  3. I really want to read this book and I currently have it on hold at the library but after your rave review, I think I should consider picking it up at my local bookstore!!!

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  4. My book club chose this 2 months ago. (I still need to do the review- oops). It was a book that I really wasn't interested in, but was completely blown away.

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  5. I absolutely loved this one as well -- great review.

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