Lynn's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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's review
Aug 17, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: kindle
Read in August, 2011

I just finished reading this tonight, and I feel kind of cheesy posting my first book review for something that's in the theatres right now. I had read a few of the preview pages on amazon months ago and made a mental note to purchase it, but I have to admit it was the theatrical release that prompted me to finally start reading it. I don't want to end up seeing the movie flipping channels months from now and let that form my opinion.

Overall it was an enjoyable read though I did have my fears starting off that the dialect was just going to be too much to stomach. But once I got a few chapters in, I was engrossed in the characters and their progression. I can't speak to the authenticity of this story as someone born in the late 70's in the Midwest, but I don't think some of the criticism Stockett has received has been completely fair. I think she made an earnest attempt at trying to describe life in Jackson in the 60's and her heart was in the right place. That said, I noticed a review said that this wasn't her story to tell, and I believe there is a grain of truth to that as well.

As for the actual writing, I felt like it could have been edited down to improve the flow of the book. The middle tends to drag on without a lot of major events, and then the last few pages quickly seem to tidy up the fates the principle characters. That said, Aibiline's character is left with the least amount of resolution, and I feel more was owed to her as she is the voice that introduces you to the book. You feel like Skeeter & Minny's future courses are plotted out and hopeful, while Aibiline is left in uncertainty. I found that a bit unsatisfying.

I also was a little jarred that the chapter about the League Benefit shifts into 3rd person perspective when the entire rest of the book was presented in 1st person by one of the three main characters. I found that really strange and while that chapter has some hilarious moments, it bugged me that the author couldn't figure out a more clever way to deliver that information without breaking out of the convention she had been using all along.

Finally, I'm left wishing more was said about Celia....her character was tragically comic but strangely endearing. I wanted to see more resolution at the end for her as well.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Gail I felt the same way about the dialect going in to this novel too, but, like you, fell pretty hard for it a few chapters in. One thing I'm curious with the film (given the trailer) is if they "chick flick" up the content too much. I mean, "The Help" had funny moments, sure, but at heart, it's a serious book. Hoping the film delivers on that too.

Lynn Agreed...I am hoping the whole subplot with the senator's son is just removed completely, because I think it would otherwise prove too tempting to the producers to end that with a happily-ever-after.

Gail Saw it on Friday and I really really loved it. The actresses playing Abeline and Minny are just tremendous. I think you'll love it too!

PS - Love Celia in the movie..and your fears about the subplot? Don't worry about it--it's there, but the movie is VERY true to the book. And those scenes don't steal anything from the main plot.

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