Jackie's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Feb 08, 09

bookshelves: work-review-related-reading, 5-star
Recommended to Jackie by: Roy L
Read in February, 2008

This book focuses on 3 women in the early 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi. Two of them are African American (or "negra" in one of the kinder terms of the time) housekeepers/nannies, and one is an awkward white woman, raised by a friend of theirs, who just can't accept the system as it is for ANY woman at the time. She's also trying to break into journalism and a New York editor challenges her to find a story that no one has done before. She chooses to write about her home town from "the help's" perspective, and begins the hard work of making these women even talk to her, let alone tell her their stories. And oh, what stories they have!

There is a wonderful contrast between the empty, vapid world inhabited by the white young women with their Junior League and country club activities and the gritty, hard-working, multi-layered lives of their domestics. These black women have tough lives in their own right, with children and husbands of their own to deal with, a community to hold together, and their own sanity to maintain as a person of color in the Deep South. But they are also privy to the ins and outs of their employer's lives--raising the white children, witnessing all sorts of machinations, knowing all sorts of secrets of these often falsely prim houses where things inside are nothing close to their glossy surfaces.

This is a fascinating book that tells soooooooooooo many stories through the eyes of 3 very memorable women. I know I stayed up reading long into the night because I just HAD to see what was going to happen next, had to know if they were going to be okay. Trust me, you all need to meet Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen--everyone needs friends like these.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by David (new)

David R Hello,
I'm a senior in an AP english class and need to write an essay arguing for or against, any book written in the last 5 years,to be considered a classic. I chose this book, and was wondering if you could give me some insight on why/ why not you would consider this book a classic. If you choose to respond, which I would really appreciate, please leave your full name so I could possibly cite you in my paper. :)

David Rubenstein


message 2: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann A comment about "nigra." I am reporting as 61 year-old Southerner---"Nigra" was the "polite" alternative to "nigger." Equivalent to "nigra," and slightly more polite, was "colored person." "Negro" was avoided by whites---it was harder to articulate.


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