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The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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Sep 15, 2008

it was amazing

An engrossing, vivid, funny, and important book about three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. Stockett writes in three first-person voices: 1. a middle-aged black maid who specializes in childcare, 2. a hot-tempered black maid who cares for a once-poor, now-rich white woman, and 3. a white girl who's just graduated from college and is floundering around. The Help is "about" race and feminism, but not in an earnest or heavy-handed way. Story is Stockett's first concern, and Jesus God, can she write a story. During the climactic party scene, I was wincing and writhing in my seat, so nervous about what was going to happen that I could hardly look at the page. I cared deeply about all of these characters, I was outraged and amused and upset whenever Stockett wanted me to be, and I read for five hours straight without getting restless.
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Finished Reading
September 15, 2008 – Shelved

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

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message 1: by David (last edited Apr 17, 2009 12:31AM) (new)

David R Hello,
I'm a senior in an AP english class and need to write an essay arguing for or against, any book written in the last 5 years,to be considered a classic. I chose this book, and was wondering if you could give me some insight on why/ why not you would consider this book a classic. If you choose to respond, which I would really appreciate, please leave your full name so I could possibly cite you in my paper. :)

David Rubenstein

Mary Anne David,

This is probably too late for your essay.

I grew up in the South of the 1950's. The Help is not just a novel; I feel in my heart that it is historical.

I am now 67 years old, but I experienced the separate worlds of black and white as a reality.

What I experienced was not a world of meanness, but a world where black people were "in their place," but in my small world, always shown respect and honor. In hindsight, I know how wrong it was, but also how easy it was to continue.

My parents were hard-working, self-motivated professionals--both from humble beginnings in the Depression. My father was the town dentist; my mother, his office manager and hygentist.

Because of their work, we had a full-time "maid." And, of course, a maid in those days was black. Her name was Mable and we were allowed to call her by her first name, even though I would never have referred to another adult on a first name basis.

In my eyes, Mable remains one of the noblest, well-spoken, educated persons of my childhood. In her crisp dresses, her hair perfectly set, her beautiful chocolate skin, she was the household manager. My father picked her up at 7 am and drove her home at 5. I often made those trips with him. She always sat in the rear seat.

In our home, she was the boss, unless my mother got in the way. But, as long as my mother was at work, I was absolutely content to have Mable manage our lives. She was smart, organized, well-spoken, kind and in charge.

The character Constantine is not Mable, but the world that existed among the three main characters is very real in my memory. I am grateful for this novel's moving story.

Karen I loved this book for the same reasons and I would find myself holding my breath at times!

Even though my mom did not work, she had three kids aged 1, 2, and 3 and my dad got her some help. That help was in the form of our beloved "Tee Wee." I don't remember any of us ever treating her poorly. And we shared what we had. If my dad killed a deer, Tee Wee got meat. If they had a good picking of blackberries, they brought us a bucketful.

Even after we moved away, we still went back to see Tee Wee. She was a cherished part of my childhood.

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