Alina's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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's review
Feb 29, 2012

really liked it
Read in February, 2012

I keep hearing the intellectual community scorning this book (and its subsequent movie): it's not okay for a white woman to suppose that she knows what it's like to be a black woman in Mississippi in the 50s and 60s. Or something about how the book/movie puts forth a misguided plot where strong black female characters can only find their strength through the smart-yet-scrappy white girl. Or whatever else.

I say bullshit. I thought this book was great! Fantastic characters, who are concurrently interesting, lovable, and flawed in their own ways; easy flow to the writing, without feeling simple; and a fascinating perspective that often gets overlooked in most discussions of that area/era -- that, at the same time, there can be love and dislike, compassion and misunderstanding.
Those who read the chapters and come away with the impression that Stockett wrote Minny and Aibileen as character who found their strength through Skeeter? Either you weren't reading closely, or you're really stretching to find criticism. (Not to mention the fact that Stockett writes a LOVELY addendum in which she expresses her reasons for writing the book, her concerns about where she failed in her writing, her pride in where she wrote aptly, and her recognition that no, she does not imagine that she knows what it is like to be a black woman in Mississippi in the 50s and 60s, but she does know what it is like to be a person in Mississippi in the 50s and 60s.)

**Note: I suppose I should admit I haven't seen the movie. If it's not faithful to the book, perhaps that's where the blacklash is coming from/directed at... In which case, as I always say, just read the book.

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