Sunshine's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Jul 28, 2011

it was amazing

The Help balances well between three different narrators. All women happen to be characters which are easy to like; they are the good women. A fourth perspective, from the missing view of a white, Southern wife, would perhaps have added depth. Perhaps not. After all, reading the inner ramblings of a coiffed and well-perched Southern belle who doesn't empathize much with her maids might become infuriating. I can just hear some of my friends saying, "Who wants to listen to a racist rant anyway?" They have a point. In our increasingly progressive society, such ethnocentric opinions in America are becoming tiresome.

But does that warrant their absence? Sometimes such limitations serve society benefits. Like reminding us how inane and parochial racism can be. I'm just saying that a fourth perspective from a character who causes us to shake our heads instead of eliciting our tears could be a necessary glue for the narrative.

Otherwise, Stockett leavens such perennially serious topics as racism with welcome humor. She allows neither the Negro maid nor the White woman to escape a wink or finger wagging. One maid is challenged to leave an alcoholic husband who constantly beats her; the white woman she works for is likewise criticized for being a secret alcoholic and blonde ditz. The chapter for the local Benefit is priceless for the imagination. I got the greatest pleasure from imaging Miss Celia engulfed in a pink shroud of "hot pink and silver sequins" a "Butterbatch hairdo...poufed up around her head like an Easter bonnet". This, my dear friends, is sugar for the high tea of the mind. No wonder it was made into a movie. This scene also, bedecked with a cat fight and torn dresses, could be taken straight from Saturday Night Live.

I would recommend this book for a mood lightener. It's sobering enough to surpass Nora Roberts, yet fun enough to enjoy without forehead scratching.
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