Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

by: Tasha

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Pages: 464
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
ISBN-10: 0399155341
Rated: Ages 13+

Front Cover
I loved the bright yellow and gold trimmed cover.  I think the brightness of the cover is such a contrast to such a dark time for our country.  I also see it as a small light at the end of a very dark tunnel.  I find it quite interesting how the birds are arranged on the front cover as well—two stand together and one alone.  But I could be over thinking....

To begin, the author starts by introducing us to some very, very interesting main and supporting characters in which she allows you to draw upon who they are as you read a little about the lives of each.  She jumps right in with the leading character and what I believe is her voice (the author) for the book. Soon after, the plot is born and things really take off, drawing you into every situation and sequential moment to come.

Without giving to much away, the story takes place in the deep south (Mississippi) during the time of Jim Crow laws, racism, and segregation.  On the brinks of what would become known as the Civil Rights Movement, three courageous women embark on a journey, that would play a small, but pivitol role in the lives of a small southern town.  This journey is one of self discovery, strength, passion, and courage as each of them are faced with the threat of judgement, imprisonment, and extreme danger.

My thoughts...

I must admit, at first I thought is was another brash story about the south during the time of the Civil Rights movement. *cringes*  Although the book is written during that era, I was pleasantly surprised at the approach the author used to write the book. She does an excellent job of capturing the "time" in which the experiences in the book take place—references to historical events, the vernacular of the town, and the interaction (or the lack thereof) among blacks and whites. There were moments that revealed just how controversial this time was. However, that did not over shadow the plot of the book.

Did I like it you ask?  Nope.  I loved it!!  First, because it I found it very interesting that the author wrote the book through the eyes of black maids during a time when the south had not accepted black people as equal.  Second, because the characters are well developed and very relatable.  The author does a great job of painting a picture of her three main ladies and supporting characters.  So much so, I began to see examples of them in my own experiences.  I will say, that there was one character that I wish she had discussed a little more, however it did not take away much from the book. It actually adds this sense of mystery to it!  And lastly, because I found the storyline easy to follow.  I found myself anxious to get to the next chapter to see what was going to happen next! Ohhhh, the drama!

This book generated much discussion at our book club meeting.  Questions ranged from:  Does the "time" in which we live affect our personalities?  Why/why not?  Do you think racism is inherent or taught?

So, as you can see, much can be shared and possibly even learned by the experiences that occurred in this book and from the moment in time in which it was based upon.  I don't think that it is easy to write a book that brings attention to this era in our country's history (without dozing off) that compels you to keep reading.  I think she did a wonderful job!

My rating of this book is: 5 Pages

1 comment:

  1. When I read The Help I had no idea what it was about. I had no clue there was ever anyone known as "the help." I loved the book and I think not knowing in advance about the subject matter was a good thing. Had I known I would have worried it would be boring. It's not! The characters were so real and I wanted to know what they were going to do!


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