Nikko Lee's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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's review
May 27, 12

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Read in May, 2012

Why I read this book:

I was visiting family and complained about needing a fiction book to read. So I was offered The Help by Kathryn Sockett to read. I'd actually heard good reviews about this book long before it was made into a movie and had given it as a gift to my mother. Being mildly interested in what made this book popular enough to garnish a movie, I took up the offer.

My one sentence summary:

One white girl looking to do something meaningful with her life exposes the plight of the African American maids in a small Mississippi town.


While the dialect was a little hard to get into at first - I'm from Canada so even more Yankee than the Yankees- I did find it entertaining. The dichotomies in this story, such as the little white girls all but raised by their maids treating them no better than their parents did, are very engaging. The struggle of racial integration is not a personal story for me so I am fascinated by how bad things could be and the little moments of levity and affection scattered among the tragedies. The characters are diverse even if fairly cookie-cutter at times and the story is incredibly easy to read. I finished this novel in two days.


Beyond the cookie-cutter nature of some of the characters, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as the story raced to wards the ending. Yet everything turned out for the better. Somehow I was disappointed by rather positive ending. Somehow tragedy strikes me as more poignant that success. The central romance really had little impact on me. I never really bought that the two were going to end up together. The story about the women in this book, black and white, was far more interesting than the romances and marriages.

Final verdict:

The Help is a good beach or cottage read. It's light fare despite the heavy nature of the topic. There are some genuinely nail-biting moments, but over all this feels like the sugared version of racial integration.

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