Jules's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Jul 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, socio-historic-fiction
Read from July 11 to 26, 2011

I really enjoyed this book and, despite it being something of a slow burner at times, I’ve rated it highly as it’s something of an act of genius storytelling. I enjoy American fiction and this book excels in the retelling of black and white class and racial differences in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s. The subject matter seems brave as well as factual and it’s interesting that the writer seems to have such flair and natural insight into highlighting details, differences as well as obvious hypocrisies in the layout of this micro-society. Apart from an obvious writing talent, Stockett the author clarifies her own ethnic background within a sub-chapter of the acknowledgements stating her early childhood and family background as a member of the ‘privileged white elite’ almost mimicking very strongly the socio-historical background of the novel.
The characterisation in the novel is very strong and the strengths of the characters really jump out of the page when reading. The characters of Aibileen and Minny – the main ‘Helps’- are especially fortuitous and it’s particularly easy to empathise with them throughout their pathways in life.
The storyline itself moves at a rather gentle and unhurried pace and the text is always easily to read. Stockett’s clever use of language and excellent use of ‘leading you into history’ mechanisms make it easy for the reader to read the subtext. One can really feel the tension between the characters and the obvious pulls between different sectors of society and class and societal traits.
I would recommend this book to any lover of good fiction and particularly to those with an interest in American fiction. This book readily takes the reader to a certain place at a certain time and demonstrates so much promise for a first time author. Compelling reading – I would not hesitate to read anything by this writer again.
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07/15/2011 page 200
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