Joanna's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Nov 05, 10

bookshelves: fiction-21st-cent
Read in August, 2009

I've completed 69% of this book on Kindle, and must wait a week to read the rest. Roger is taking my Kindle to Ireland, so I'll be reading a different "real" book this week.
I LOVE this book, with it being one of my favorite book ever. The Help is well written and well researched, giving unique insight into the black maids living and working in the southern US during the early 60's. As a child growing up in Atlanta, Lillie Frazier came to our house three times a week. She loved and nurtured me in a way that noone else ever did. She taught me about the power of faith and the power of prayer. I was her favorite and she was my favorite - and everyone knew it! Lillie attended my graduations from high school and college. She remembered my birthday each year, and was always happy to see me come in the door from school. I baked her a pound cake for Christmas each year, and fussed at my brothers if they treated her with anything less than respect. After Roger and I married, Lillie retired. She phoned me every week or so, giving me support and advice about raising my own children. I visited her twice with the my kids before her death a little over 10 years ago. The character of Aibeleen was cut from the same mold, from the hugs and positive words to the indirect but powerful way that she taught me that the quality of the person is unrelated to the color of his/her skin.

What a beautiful, appropriate ending to a terrific book. Definately this book receives my two thumbs up!
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Elizabeth I am reading this too!! Did Roger tell you I saw him last week? It's been 4-ever since we talked - How's your foot? Your father?

Joanna I love The Help - what a well balanced, insightful treatment of a sensitive issue. Lillie was my emotional mother, and this book really gives a different view on how truly special she was to be able to love and nurture me - with all the crap that went with it. Stockett lives in Atlanta, so we should see if she's speaking somewhere locally.
I'm out of my walking cast now, but relearning to walk is slow and painful. I haven't been able to exercise for 10 weeks, and I miss it sooooo much. But boy, have I been reading a lot! My father, brother and Roger are off to Ireland today to play golf for a week, so I have lots of free time on my hands if you are free for lunch or dinner.....

message 3: by Mary Anne (new)

Mary Anne Though I have been slack about reviewing the books I've been reading these past few months, I finished this about 3 weeks ago and I LOVED it. It captured the nature of my relationship with Effie who cared for me as I was growing up. I spent more time with her than I did my own parents and brother and I miss her everyday.
This book was so close to my own experience and it was agreat comfort to see the great dignity these women demonstrated in the face of all their troubles. When I was born there was an Aibeleen named Carrie who was my Nanny. She took care of me all day and night and took care of our house and cooked wonderful meals for my family and their numerous dinner parties. Her face was the first one I saw eveyday and I was like her own child. She died in a fire when I was 2 so I cannot remember her as vividly as I would like to, but I know her spirit is with me and she encouraged me to be a better mom with my girls every day when they were small. I'm grateful that these women were in my life and taught me about love and kindness and true faith.

Nancy Z. Thanks for your comments. As a middle class white girl growing up in NJ I never had a maid so it's interesting for me to see that people feel the portrayal of the
black maids is true to life. Am enjoying the book soo

message 5: by May (new) - rated it 5 stars

May I grew up in France, and we did not have maids, and my mom was a wonderful mom. Yet, I certainly can feel the love between those little girls and the "help". The book is that good.

A question for all of you who loved this book, what do you suggest I should read next? I was so sad to get to the end. It's like I was losing the comfort of the "help" myself.

Donna as a white middle class suburban girl growing up in
the 60's I did not have the maid experience but I just
love reading about the South, the 60's, civil rights
early feminism, etc... thats why I loved this book

Jewell Did you have the separate bathroom in your home?

Lindsay Try downloading the Kindle App for your desktop :) Then, even when you're sharing your Kindle, you can still read your books :)

message 9: by Jewell (last edited Sep 19, 2011 05:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jewell Growing up as an African American in the North during the 60's I always thought of seperate facilities (bathrooms, drinking fountains) as only occuring in public places not in private homes. This whole notion of seperate toilets in the homes for the maids to use was first presented to me in the book and it totally fascinated me. So Johanna and Elizabeth, I'm asking again, did your parents have separate toilets in your homes for your help? I just really curious and find it so ironic that women who were entrusted to raising children and preparing meals for families could not use the family bathroom because they had strange diseases. The author said she did and didn't realize it until she was well into her young adulthood. I was fortunate to hear her speak this summer. I hope you get to do so.

Sandi If you use the Chrome browser you can read it on the built in cloud reader. Go to your Amazon acct and there is a tab for the cloud reader :) You don't have to wait! hehehe

Terri I did not grow up with a life like that, nor was I raised in the south. But one thing it did for me, was open my eyes..I liked this book.

Wynyard I grew up in the east Texas, which was more like Georgia (where my parents came from) in its pine trees, red dirt, and social attitudes. This was in the '40s and '50s. We had 'help', and that's really how these women were referred to. We had a cleaning lady, who let me choose my hair ribbons. Then we had an ironing lady, who sang gospel as she ironed. Then we had Ernestine, who was with us until I was in college. "Miss Teenie" was probably in her late teens when she came to us, too young to be a substitute mother, but young enough to become a friend to visit with after school. She taught me to boogaloo.
No, I never heard of a separate maid's toilet. All our friends had help, and they didn't have separate facilities. Our family was certainly middle class, Mother a school teacher and father a railroad middle executive. I thought the author had mixed up her generations. I was married in the late '50s, and the young couples didn't really have maids. I asked my daughter what she thought about that, and the Junior League and bridge club, etc. I said, surely that was my mother's generation...or maybe a FEW of my old high school friends. She said, Mom, they STILL do have maids and do junior league and bridge! Hmmmm. After all the time I've spent with N.O.W. and pushing the glass ceiling. Not such a brave, new world after all.
'Teenie died about 15 years ago. She had visited us when she came through town twice. I have a photo of her holding my grandson. She raised two other girls after me, and came with the family to see them graduate from college. She had no children of her own. When I visited her after I was married, she was living in a tiny poor house, on a dirt road, underwritten by her 'family' (after us). Wood floors almost scrubbed through. Photos of "her children" on the dresser. She deserved much better. I never thought she'd die, and when I learned she'd been taken by her incessant cigarettes and lung cancer, I cried as much as I did for my mother, though a different kind of grief. There are tears even now.

I wonder what she would have thought of "The Help". I wish she and her church friends had written a book.

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