I was uncomfortable with the tone of the book I felt that the author played to very stereotypical themes, and gave the characters especially the African American ones very inappropriate and obvious voices and structure in terms constructing their mental character I understand that the author wrote much of this as a result of her experiences growing up in the south in the 1960 s, and that it may seem authentic to her, and that she was even trying to be respectful of the people and the time but, ultimately, I thought that it was written from a very narrow, idealized, almost childish perspective of race relations without a true appreciation of the humanity and soul of the characters And the ultimate theme message i.e why, we re all the same there s no difference between us after all only reinforced my feeling that this is written from someone who has a very undeveloped or underdeveloped concept of race and race relations in the United States The author would benefit from exploring authentic African American voices Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and understanding the scope, range and most important the foundation of the emotions genuine African American characters express as a result of their journey as a people in the US hope, frustration, drive, passion, anger, happiness, sadness, depression, joy. While it was a well written effort, I didn t find it as breathtaking as the rest of the world It or less rubbed me the wrong way It reads like the musings of a white woman attempting to have an uncomfortable conversation, without really wanting to be uncomfortable It s incredibly hard to write with integrity about race and be completely honest and vulnerable The author failed to make me believe she was doing anything beyond a show tell And if her intent isn t anything greater, then it makes this book all the pandering to the white imagination of what it must have been like to be the help during that era It s passive self reflection at best and utterly useless.The national fascination with this book makes me sick It makes me think of my grandmother who was the help to many white families for well over 50 years Her stories aren t too different from those told in this book, but they are hers to tell If she were alive today, I don t believe she would praise Stockett s book In fact, I think she we would be horrified at the thought that her years of hard work in some cases, for some very horrible people would be reduced to some wannabe feel good story of the past. I read the first paragraph of The Help, absorbing the words, but suddenly being caught off guard by the dialect I stopped reading.I shifted the book in my hands, flipping to the author s biography and photograph on the back of the dust jacket Staring up at me was this image error Here is an illustrative tale of what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi There is such deep history in the black white relationship and this story beautifully shows the complex spectrum, not only the hate, abuse, mistrust, but the love, attachment, dependence Stockett includes this quote by Howell Raines in her personal except at the end of the novel There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segregation For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect, makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism. An eloquent way to describe Stockett s intentions for this novel I know most reviews will probably focus on the racial relationships in the book, but to me the most haunting statement was that when you are paying someone to care for you and their livelihood depends on making you happy, you can t expect an honest relationship I did not expect this book to hit so close to home After all, I did not grow up in the South and completely missed the racial mind shift in the country But the book isn t just about racism and civil rights It s about the employer relationship too And I did grow up in South America with a maid trying to keep herself out of poverty by making our crazy family happy As much as we loved her, I can see so many of the pitfalls from these complex relationships in my own history I know our maid was stuck between pleasing my mother and raising us the way she believed appropriate I know it was physically hard to work from sunup to late everyday and emotionally hard to never relax because she wasn t the decision maker of our home and at any moment she could be reprimanded for making the wrong decision She had absolutely no power, and yet she was all powerful to shape and mold us I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her I took her for granted Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did We were her children, especially my youngest brothers And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life They say its like true love, good help You only get one in a lifetime I know Believe me, I know.The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security Stockett captured all these emotions.I also loved the writing style When style compliments plot, I get giddy I don t always love grammatically incorrect prose or books about an author trying to be published, but here it works because it s honest The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids The styles parallel each other as do the messages The point of Skeeter s novel is to make people see that people are just people no matter the color of their skin and Stockett s novel beautifully portrays that with both good and bad on both sides The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity This book is Stockett s masterpiece, that story in her that was just itching to get out From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people I loved Aibileen, but think I loved Minny s voice because she is such a strong character Besides the maids, I loved Hilly as a portrayal of the white Southern belle with the ingrained belief that black people are not as good as whites, verbalized as separate but equal so it doesn t sound racist My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there She s a bit over the top, but if you ve been to the South, not that far of a stretch I just would have liked to find some redeeming qualities in her from Skeeter s perspective While there are some instances where I felt Stockett was squeezing historical facts into the novel, forming the plot around these events instead of letting them play backdrop, and occasionally I could read the modern woman in this tale pushing her message too hard, Stockett s sincerity to understand and appreciate shines through She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her Because it s important to her it becomes important to me. Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision You gone have to ask yourself, Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today Color me surprised I m not one to read many historical fictions, especially when they don t include any fantasy elements They read like nonfiction, and nonfiction is only good for me if I m in need of sleep B but The Help is different It doesn t only describe the life of housemaids, in the second half of the 20th century, in Mississippi it s overflowing with raw emotion It doesn t put every white person in a box and every black person in another It underlines the difference of thought between people, but also how similar we actually all are We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect You is kind You is smart You is important I really felt it, when Aibileen and Minny talked about their work, how they wanted needed things to change and how hard their lives were It made me sad, of course, because they just didn t deserve the animosity that was directed toward them and that s why I was so eager to turn the pages I couldn t wait to see some things change over there.Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story She s not loud, she doesn t look for trouble, but she does have a weapon no one expects her to use in her advantage her writing She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit.I can t believe the author never made Skeeter and Celia interact they would have connected from the start And was Stuart s character s purpose only to make us see how differences in ways of thinking can drift people apart He is the most frustrating part of the story, really We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book.Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book Equality Freedom Racism Respect They re all so fascinating because they are cleverly developed and included and intertwined in a way that makes this story such a precious and worth perusing one.I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie Seriously Breath taking All I m saying is, kindness don t have no boundaries Also,I ll repeat it,so you don t forget The Kindle DX I ordered is galloping to the rescue today AND, for all the book purists which would include me , this is a need, rather than a want Post several eye surgeries, I m just plain sick of struggling to read the words on a page.However, despite the visual challenges, I read all 451 pages of The Help yesterday Clearly, the book held my interest However, I spent last night pondering why the book wasn t as good as my nonstop reading would indicate What was wrongMost of all, I think it was the book s ambivalent tone In brief, a white woman, Miss Skeeter Phelan one of Jackson, Mississippi s socially elite convinces a number of the African American maids to tell her their story What goes on in the homes of the upper crust How do these women really treat their maids Though the book would be published anonymously and no locations would be given, the stories provide enough detail so that the premise that the book could be received as being about Anywhere, USA defies belief Further, while having the book s source known might subject Skeeter to social ostracism, this is the 1960s in Missa fuckin sippi in the middle of the very tense civil rights battles For the maids, discovery would mean loss of a job with no hope of getting another position and retribution that could include being falsely accused of a crime and jailed or even being injured or killed.Despite the underlying tension and references to violent events that do occur, the book teeters At times, I was furious and in tears over the effing racism and the tragedies described But Kathryn Stockett keeps pulling back It s as though she wants it both ways Let s divulge the incredible cruelty and violence that black people routinely endured, but let s also show the goodness of some white people and soft pedal the whole thing into a broader theme, i.e., how difficult it is for two women in any unequal power situation to be friends Nope Sorry You can t have it both ways Though some of the women are kinder to their maids, they did not fight against the separate but equal indignities that included building a nigra toilet in their home or garage so that the maids nasty germs would not infect them, the separate entrances, the substandard schools, the justice system that made a white accusation the same as proof, and on and on and on.I don t want a book to make me cry and then pull back and say, It s all right It s not all right. If you re going to write a book about this horrible time in our history and in a country where racism is still alive and well then do it all out What these women endured deserves Don t put it out there and then pull back and use a Doris Day lens It doesn t work. enthusiasm this book and i almost never met and that would have been tragic the fault is mostly mine i mean, the book made no secret of its existence a billion weeks on the best seller list, every third customer asking for it at work, displays and reviews and people on here praising it to the heavens it practically spread its legs for me, but i just kept walking i figured it was something for the ladies, like sex and the city, which i don t have to have ever seen an episode of to know that it s not something i would enjoy i figured that this book was on the ladder one rung above chick lit so i am to blame for my snobbish dismissiveness, but have you seen this cover what is with that sickroom color scheme and i hate those stupid little birds what is chip kidd so busy doing that he can t just pop over here and lend a hand it is not my fault for thinking it was a crappy book when that cover wanted me to think it is a crappy book.but this book is good really, really good again, i thank you, readers advisory class, for fixing me up with this book it has been a long time since i have read such a frankly entertaining book if a book about the emotionally charged early days of the civil rights movement can be called entertaining this is just an effortlessly told story, split between three different women, whose voices and perspectives never run together the secondary characters are also completely believable and are all different brands of repellent, with some token sympathetic characters tossed in for the halibut i don t even know what to say, i just feel all aw, shucks, i loved this book about it there were several times i would catch myself grinning at a turn of phrase or a situation, and every time i would start to doubt myself, that maybe i would like sex and the city or buffy the vampire slayeror all these things i have formerly judged without having read seen eaten maybe i am like these white women in the book, taking their help for granted and assuming they have nothing to say to each other because of their unwillingness to talk to them and know them as human beings maybe buffy and i have so much to learn from one anotherthen i would snap out of it and remember that my gut opinions are 99.99% foolproof so for you other people, who need to be swayed by hype i give you hype this book s hype is merited it would be a perfect book to read this summer when you are melting from the sun and need a good story this is a very tender and loving book, about hope and sisterhood and opportunity, but also about beatings and terror and shame.still hate those birds, though.come to my blog Three Ordinary Women Are About To Take One Extraordinary StepTwenty Two Year Old Skeeter Has Just Returned Home After Graduating From Ole Miss She May Have A Degree, But It Is , Mississippi, And Her Mother Will Not Be Happy Till Skeeter Has A Ring On Her Finger Skeeter Would Normally Find Solace With Her Beloved Maid Constantine, The Woman Who Raised Her, But Constantine Has Disappeared And No One Will Tell Skeeter Where She Has GoneAibileen Is A Black Maid, A Wise, Regal Woman Raising Her Seventeenth White Child Something Has Shifted Inside Her After The Loss Of Her Own Son, Who Died While His Bosses Looked The Other Way She Is Devoted To The Little Girl She Looks After, Though She Knows Both Their Hearts May Be BrokenMinny, Aibileen S Best Friend, Is Short, Fat, And Perhaps The Sassiest Woman In Mississippi She Can Cook Like Nobody S Business, But She Can T Mind Her Tongue, So She S Lost Yet Another Job Minny Finally Finds A Position Working For Someone Too New To Town To Know Her Reputation But Her New Boss Has Secrets Of Her OwnSeemingly As Different From One Another As Can Be, These Women Will Nonetheless Come Together For A Clandestine Project That Will Put Them All At Risk And Why Because They Are Suffocating Within The Lines That Define Their Town And Their Times And Sometimes Lines Are Made To Be CrossedIn Pitch Perfect Voices, Kathryn Stockett Creates Three Extraordinary Women Whose Determination To Start A Movement Of Their Own Forever Changes A Town, And The Way Women, Mothers, Daughters, Caregivers, Friends, View One Another A Deeply Moving Novel Filled With Poignancy, Humor, And Hope, The Help Is A Timeless And Universal Story About The Lines We Abide By, And The Ones We Don T Jacket Flap We are just two people Not that much separates us Not nearly as much as I d thought My favourite book next to Harry Potter This novel did so many things to me.There was lots of cryinghappinesssass tearsand most of all friendship.Read it.Find of my books on Instagram I know what a froat is and how to fix it Aibileen Clark knows how to cure childhood illnesses and how to help a young aspiring writer write a regular household hints column for the local paper But she s struggling mightily to deal with grief over the death of her 20 something son, and she SURE doesn t think conditions will ever improve for African American domestic engineering servants in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi or anywhere else in the South Aibileen s good friend Minny has been a maid since she was very young, and on the first day of her first job her mother admonished her that sass mouth, especially her degree of it, is highly dangerous but it s not long before she s just gotta mouth off.and look for another job As Minny s first episode of the book opens, she is yet again looking for a new job, and this time an opportunity pretty much falls into her lap Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante Oh, one thing she needs to keep Minny a secret, at least for a while I think this plotline was my favorite part Celia s husband had formerly gone with even been engaged to somebody else did any of you wonder how they would have gotten along if he had married her instead of Celia But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny a good sass mouthin or a good slice of her extra special chocolate revenge pie Thanks for reading.
Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and creative writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing for nine years She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter She is working on her second novel.
- 465 pages
- The Help
- Kathryn Stockett
- 07 October 2018 Kathryn Stockett