Sera's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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's review
Jan 07, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, historical-fiction, own
Recommended to Sera by: Alison
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys fiction
Read from January 09 to 11, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I loved this book, and I thought that Stockett did a fantastic job with making this period in time realistic, believable and heart-wretching. The premise of the book is that an aspiring white journalistic seeks to publish the stories of maids to families in Jackson, MS. The story centers around the writer and two of the maids, so the chapters switch among the various points of view while continuing to tell the overall story.

What's interesting to me is how illogical the view of many of the white families were in regard to race. For example, does it really make sense to have a separate bathroom in one's house for the black maids, because one believed that they were disease-ridden, etc., but then also have these same women care for one's children? All I kept thinking was how it wasn't possible to logically take both positions and how the white women couldn't even see this.

I loved that this book isn't just about race relations either, it's also about class, where oftentimes race doesn't come into play. Poor Miss Celia, a white woman who marries up but can't seem to dress right, or cook, or clean or do anything really, but who desparately wants to fit into the community with the other women. She tries over and over again, but is ignored, except for one occasion, where her lack of sophistication clearly shows itself and embarrasses her and her husband in the process. Thankfully, he truly loves her, which is critical to how the story ends for her in the book.

I think that one theme of this book is about how people judge each other and want to be better than their neighbor, rather than just simply being a good neighbor. As indicated above, this judgement transcends race and gets into other areas where people attempt to differentiate themselves.

Another theme is how people often overlook servants as being people just like themselves. The employers talk about them as though they are not there or that they have any feelings. What's interesting is that this attitude prevails today - think about it - don't some people treat the cleaning crew at their office this way or at the resorts that they go to on vacation or at the hotels while traveling on business? These people have become invisible to most Americans and that is a sad commentary on us as humans.

I was on pins and needles throughout this book - so full of fear that these women would get caught and what would happen to them. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised that this book ended as well as things could for these people. Oftentimes, I find the endings of book to be disappointing, but the ending to this book was just right.

I would recommend this book to everyone to read.
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Reading Progress

01/07/2010 page 1
0.23% "I'm really looking forward to this one."
01/09/2010 page 55
12.39% "Awesome so far."
01/10/2010 page 229
51.58% "Excellent."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Meghan I haven't read your review, but wow 5 stars. If that's not a recommendation I don't know what is! Looking forward to it.

message 2: by Alison (last edited Jan 31, 2010 11:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alison I'm glad you liked this. I'm glad you said "I loved that this book isn't just about race relations either, it's also about class, where oftentimes race doesn't come into play." I agree that it illustrated the lines people draw between themselves and others. Some are racial, some are social. They are all imaginary, divisive, and pointless. And yes--racism is illogical and for the ignorant. These women weren't really thinking things through, they were just being helpless and self-serving.

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