Cheryl's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Apr 25, 2011

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Read in April, 2011

I may be a dissenting voice here, but really, what's all the hype about??
While i found the story line somewaht intriguing and the book did hold my interest, i didn't find it to be particularly engrossing, much less compelling.
The first thing that smacked me right in the face was the whole dialect issue. Not knowing much about the book, after reading the first few sentences I flipped to the back cover over to reveal, yep, you guessed it, the all knowing white lady speaking for the oppressed and disenfranchised colored women that cared for the homes and families of generations of thier white employers in the racially charged South. Really? Quite simply put, it didn't seem it was her story to tell. But I implored myself to keep an open mind and allow the story to unfold and tell itself. After all, this book seems to be wildly popular and capturing the attention of many.
I give Ms. Stockett props for tackleing the sensitive historical topic, or should I say blight? of racism in the early 1960's smack dab in Mississippi. At times she handles it deftly, though more often I thought it lacked depth, diminsion, true substance. While she employs the main characters to illustrate the tension of that era and there is no denying the huge racial divide, she uses mighty broad brush strokes to paint her one diminsional central white female characters as primarily lazy, self absorbed, materialistic, hypocritical Jr. League do-gooder egomaniacs, while their help are mostly a nuturing, kind, loving, hard working tight knit clan, who shower their young charges with patience, genuine affection, and care, empower them with the self esteem and self reliance that their ill equipped Mothers are unable to provide, due to the generational neglect and hyper criticism of their own Mothers. Again, Really? Are we swallowing this type of overreaching sterotyping? She gives a nod or two to a few of the periphial WF characters as possessing some moral fiber, but for most of them it is non existant. While these strokes are broad, other parts of the canvas are brushed over with light vague strokes, such as the intenseness and seriousness of the racial issues of that time, ie the refrences to Medgar Evers, etc. When put in perspective of the mundane day to day life of these women, it felt like an slight afterthought she managed to squeeze in. While it did keep me turning the pages, and I'm not sorry I read it, I found it to be flacid, predictable, at times inplausible, with an underdeveloped thin and slow plot line, sadly devoid of the beautiful eloquent prose of the famous Southern writers we know and love, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Alice Walker, Pat Conroy.
It was Ms. Stockett's first novel, and it shows. This book was kindov like when you see that Blockbuster movie everyone is raving about, and go "Huh?" To me it read like watching "The Blind Side", much ado about nothing.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Pat (new) - rated it 1 star

Pat Maxwell A slice of pie, a piece of crap a metaphore for this book.


message 2: by Loren (new)

Loren Lovegreen Ditto Pat and Kathryn !!


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