Kate's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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's review
Jul 01, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, modern-novel
Read from May 31 to June 01, 2011

I held out for a long time on this one, because I tend to think that maybe people just have lousy taste in books for bestsellers as Grace Metallious said (see this essay http://bookforum.com/inprint/018_02/7781).

However, it came to me as a friend and I were swapping books and I finally picked it up. And couldn't put it down.

What particularly admire about this book is that it takes all points of view into account--not just the black maids. It shows the danger posed to whites who sympathized with blacks, and it showed the entitlement of whites who favored segregation. But above all, it showed daily life, and what it was like to live in Jackson, MI in the '60s.

And I couldn't help but think about some of the parallels between the stories in this book and the stories I read currently about the treatment of undocumented immigrants. Reading the Jim Crow laws made me think of the anti-immigration laws recently passed in Arizona and elsewhere.

On the book itself, the writing is easy to read, and Stockett has a wonderful way with dialog. I don't always like it when authors write out dialects of the characters, but she does it in this book without sounding insulting. The characters were nicely fleshed out, with the exception of Abilene's employer, Mae Mobley's mother. I wish she had been one of the book's narrator's because I feel like there could have been another vision in her words.

All in all, I know this is a book I will read more than once.
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