Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Help

Ok let the gushing begin!!

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Pages: 451
Why I Read This Book - I have seen this book all over the book blogs. Not to mention it always catches my eye when it's on display at a library or bookstore. It was a blog review (and I'm so sorry I don't remember who's) that made me put it up on my TBR list

RATING: 4.75 /5

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Miss Eugenia Phelan ("Skeeter" to her friends) is a young woman of privilege who enjoys her fellow Junior Leaguers but sometimes finds their ways at odds with her own principles. She plays the part of her station in 1960s Mississippi but can't help feeling dissatisfied with keeping house and acting as recording secretary at league meetings, and yearns for something more.

Minny, Miss Celia, Aibileen, and Yule May are maids employed by Skeeter's friends. Each woman cooks, cleans, and cares for her boss's children, suffering slights and insults silently and sharing household secrets only among themselves. In the wake of the Junior League push to create separate bathrooms for the domestic help within private homes, Skeeter contacts a New York book editor with an idea. Soon she's conducting clandestine meetings with "the help" to capture their stories for publication. It is a daring and foolhardy plan, one certain to endanger not only the positions but the lives of the very women whose stories she transcribes -- as well as her own. 

 I loved this book and couldn't wait to get back to it each evening. I think part of it was that bits and pieces of that era stayed around like glitter on the furniture after the holidays and I noticed little things when I was a kid. Even in the early 70's things rang a bell in my memory from the book. And it sort of made me feel happy.
And then I thought of some of the attitudes and opinions and behaviors of today. And I see a correlation. We may not have Jim Crow laws to expressly prevent someone from going somewhere, but they can certainly be made to feel unwelcome enough to get the idea on their own. And that very much makes me sad.

The 1/4 of a star was only docked for a portion of the book that didn't quite ring authentic in my mind (simple as I can be without spoilers) and it jarred me out of the world of The Help.

I hope we learn lessons. I hope no one marginalizes another human being. I like to think this book has the potential do just what it says.... Help.

1 comment:

  1. My book group gets to read this in December 2011 (there's a long line at the library for the book kit!). I'm so anticipating this one, esp. after your review! And we're looking to read Henrietta Lacks as soon as it comes out in paperback - spring, I think. Let's keep in touch - I'm sure we can swap some great book suggestions!