Two Bibliomaniacs's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Mar 19, 13

bookshelves: evan-top-1-100

Encouraged to write something meaningful, aspiring writer, Skeeter Phelan, decides to tackle one of the most turbulent issues imaginable in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi. With the help and leadership of Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, two African American housemaids, the trio sets out to capture the oppressed voices of the town’s “help”. Having the project published could risk the lives of everyone involved, but remaining silent is an option they were no longer willing to accept.

Where to begin? The Help was presented to us with a whole bunch of hype and in general we believe the book delivered. From the beginning we were drawn into the story, the characters, and the city of Jackson. The novel delivered a powerful perspective on an appalling piece of US history. We fell in love with Aibileen, Skeeter, and Minny just as much as we loved to loath Hilly Holbrook and the rest of her minions. The different narratives added an element of suspense, although we weren’t thrilled about the brief jump to third person in the middle of the story. On several occasions we found ourselves up late into the night trying to figure out if Johnny was going to catch Celia and Minny or if the repercussions from the toilet incident would be dire. Which brings us right up to the end...

We didn’t love the conclusion. We wanted more. Now, let’s get something straight – we’re not the kind of readers that need a super happy ending with sugar on top, where the bad guys die a horrible death or suffer public humiliation while the good guys win the lottery and find true love’s kiss. In the case of The Help, we wanted more reflection. Despite our wish for a certain character whose name rhymes with Billy to suffer more, we were okay with how everything turned out. Given the racial tensions of the time, what these three ladies were doing could have resulted in a horrible tragedy. Yet, at the end of the book, it just....ended. After such a heroic undertaking, we wanted more of a clean-up job.
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