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The Help
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Archive: Other Books > The Help by Kathryn Stockett - 5 stars

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annapi | 5159 comments Everyone probably knows that this story is about the lives of black maids living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 50s and 60s, told from several points of view.

I started this book eight months ago, long after everyone was raving about both book and movie (which I have not seen), curious to learn what the hype was about and yet feeling it was really not my cup of tea. I put it down after a few chapters, distracted by other books. I finally picked it up again yesterday when I learned that my son would be taking it up in his summer English class, because I felt embarrassed that he would have read it when I hadn't, and also because I wanted to be able to discuss it with him.

It flew by surprisingly fast, and though for most of the book I really could not relate to any of the characters, by the end I was fully invested. For most of the book I was ready to give it a solid 4 stars, but by the end the characters and story grew on me, and I finally awarded it my final star. I felt the writing deserved it even if it didn't capture me in the beginning, and both the journey and the ending made it worth it. Having grown up with maids, I have a tiny inkling of the lifestyle portrayed in the book, except that my own experiences are a faint shadow compared to this. In the Philippines, after all, the divides are mostly due to class and education, without the added burden of race thrown in.

I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did, and am pleased to find it lived up to the hype, which is such a rarity!

message 2: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments I’m glad you liked it. I’ll never feel the same about our again!!

Cynda  (cynda) I lived in Jackson in the 1980s. The class divide was only starting to be be less long and strong. So I still got a good view of the unreasonable distrust. I am glad to live in a far more relaxed time and a more relaxed part of the (US) American South.

Good News: I read an Newsweek article in 1995 telling how some people of apparent African heritage were returning to the American South to be reunited with their families. They felt free to return as the the fear/hate was lessening. There is hope.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved this book so much. And the movie. American past is both sad and regretful and I'm so happy to see the south changing. I lived in Virginia for 10 years and even though there was still so much "southern pride" there was a change. I lived along the coast so of course it was not as noticeable but as a whole things did seem to be changing. Long time coming.

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