Ed's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Aug 28, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars, 2009, read-on-kindle, new-author-to-me, shared-in-household, debut-novel, historical-fiction, tournament-of-books-2010
Recommended for: Liked stuff like Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes
Read in August, 2009

I decided to read THE HELP since it seemed like one of those "buzz" books - gaining a lot of traction from word-of-mouth and near flawless starred ratings wherever you look. I can certainly see why Kathryn Stockett's debut has proven to be so popular as she has created a truly wonderful story of the burgeoning civil rights movement in the Deep South. The story is told from three perspectives: the progressive White woman Euginia (but more commonly known as Skeeter) and two African-American (or colored or nigra, if we are going with the time period) maids/"the help" Aibileen and Minny.

I am kind of torn with rating this book. You immediately fall in love with all three of these women and there are plenty of laughs and tears along the way. It was extremely entertaining read and certainly paints a eye-opening historical picture as well. That said, it does seem filled with stereotypes... the evil (racist) Stepford wive society woman, the alcoholic and abusive African-American husband, the maid with a heart of gold, the spunky downtrodden woman who gets her revenge (think COLOR PURPLE's Celie spitting in a glass of water... but much, much worse).

I'd give it a 3-3.5 on literary quality, but a big bounce or at least the round-up to 4 stars for entertainment value and memorable characters. Mark my words, this will be turned into an Oscar material-worthy movie one day!
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