Nancy's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Dec 19, 10

bookshelves: fiction, goodreads-author
Recommended to Nancy by: Clover
Read from December 16 to 19, 2010

I don't read much general fiction, but picked up this book at my daughter's house while the grown ups were away and my grand daughter was asleep. I was hooked after a chapter. The story is mostly about relationships between woman and their domestic help, but the book has subplots about love, death, pregnancy, children and difficult marriages. It really pulls you in.

This would be a great book club choice as it gets you thinking about your own experiences. I'm sure it would easily spark a lot of discussions no matter your age or race. The issues and dynamics covered can lead to discussion of any unequal contract.

I was in my teens during the period covered in the book and well aware of the civil rights struggle. I was also embarrassed about having "colored help." Not that I started helping with the housework so my mother would not need help --just that it unfair that the woman who cleaned our house made less than minimum wage and that we had black women serving us at the big family Christmas brunch. Having to work on Christmas just seemed totally wrong.

Still, we lived in Ohio, not Mississippi, and the women who cleaned did have options for dignity. Some stood up for themselves. The woman who cleaned for my grandmother was always addressed as Mrs. Kilgore, not by her first name. I believe she was also paid minimum wage. I know she charged more than our Edith and heard that she would only work for people without children. She had a real dignity about so that her position seemed much more businesslike. I'm sure she had to ask for that respect, but she got it and was still very much in demand.



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