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The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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The Help (original 2009; edition 2011)

by Kathryn Stockett

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21,623134361 (4.39)1 / 1098
Member:bibliaugrapher
Title:The Help
Authors:Kathryn Stockett
Info:Berkley Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library, Books I own, Books I've Read
Rating:****1/2
Tags:21st Century, American, Fiction, Read 2012, Racism, USA, Servants, Women, Relationships, Journalists, Made into Movie, Ditched

Work details

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)

  1. 694
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Alliebadger, Alie, Neale, readysetgo)
    Neale: Both deal with racial issues and are slow moving but enjoyable
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    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Anonymous user)
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    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (laytonwoman3rd)
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  5. 232
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (olimamma)
  6. 193
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (paulkid)
    paulkid: Race relations on different continents, told from multiple female perspectives.
  7. 123
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  8. 60
    Roots by Alex Haley (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 62
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: Both works are written from the perspective of a white female who has to gain the trust of her subjects -- African Americans who have suffered before and during the civil rights era -- to tell their story. In the end, they become friends and everyone contributes to the small amount of progress being made.… (more)
  10. 41
    Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (teelgee, BookshelfMonstrosity, momofthreewi)
  11. 30
    Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven (conceptDawg)
  12. 30
    Substitute Me by Lori Tharps (DDay)
    DDay: This recommendation might be a little out there, but this book is about a white couple in NYC who hire a young black woman to be their nanny. It's modern look at the issue of race and the role of domestic workers in a family. Sort of a chance to see how things have changed since the 60s and what issues are still present.… (more)
  13. 30
    Jubilee by Margaret Walker (MrsPeachum)
  14. 20
    Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles (bookwormteri)
    bookwormteri: Both deal with the disparity between the races in the 60s. The Help focuses more on the present (the 60's) while Cold Rock River is set in a more rural, less gentrified area with excerpts from a journal of a slave.
  15. 10
    The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell: A Novel by Loraine Despres (susiesharp)
  16. 21
    The Outer Banks House by Diann Ducharme (amanaceerdh)
    amanaceerdh: same themes of southern racism
  17. 21
    The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The Help is a moving novel about a young white woman who discovers the effects of racism on black women and their families in mid-1960s Mississippi; The Dry Grass of August portrays similar discoveries for a white teenage girl in the mid-1950s.… (more)
  18. 54
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (krizia_lazaro)
  19. 10
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  20. 21
    Bound South by Susan Rebecca White (infiniteletters)

(see all 33 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1284 (next | show all)
This was an excellent novel. So glad I read it.
It was funny and sad and wonderful.
Such a nice change to some of the crap that I read.

The film was very good too. ( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
This was a good read for me and the story felt very genuine. I can see that some readers didn't like the privileged-white-woman approach to the story; however, in my opinion, it takes the privileged as much as the abused to emphasize the need for addressing the wrongs in society. In that regard it seems that the author wrote a balanced story. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jun 18, 2017 |
I'm not quite sure how to review this book. To be quite honest, I finished the novel a tad bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong-- this book was incredible! I finished it in two days. However, it was the hype that threw me off-- the 4.49 rating on Goodreads, the recommendation from my teacher, all of my friends and their uncle, and the weeks on the best seller list. All of this made the book so built up that I was on my toes, constantly waiting for that big aha! moment where I would be so amazed that I couldn't stop talking or thinking about it. However, that moment never happened, which left me feeling a little bit empty.
I suppose I just wish I had gotten the disclaimer that yes, this book is absolutely amazing, however, there is no one thing about it that makes it what it is. It was all the strong, relatable female cast, the little moments shared between characters that you wouldn't expect to have anything in common, the testing of social lines, and the prevailing attitude of hope that gave the novel its character.
This is a thrilling debut novel from Kathryn Stockett. And yes, I think that everyone should read this book, keeping in mind that they should cherish each word for what it is, not for what might come later on in the plot. ( )
  serogers02 | Jun 10, 2017 |
I watched the movie based on this book a few years ago so when I saw it at a neighbour's garage sale I thought it might be worth reading.

The Help is fiction that reads like non-fiction--probably because it is in large part based on some of the experiences the author had as a child growing up in Mississippi. She explains this in an additional section at the back of the book.

The book tells the story of several black maids or house-helpers working for white families in the early 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi when racial segregation was the norm. The maids are at first reluctant to share their experiences fearing the backlash from their employers. But are persuaded by a young, ambitious white girl nicknamed Skeeter, who happens to be best friends with Hilly--the white girl who treats her own maid in an appalling manner. Losing friends, a boyfriend and falling rapidly out of fashion with the rest of her social circle, Skeeter eventually produces an anonymous book with fictional characters simply entitled Help. But what will happen in their small town if the book is published and people start to recognise themselves?

The book is related in the first person by several of the maids and by Skeeter herself. The chapters alternate between the different characters. The perspectives are incredibly realistic and the characters well developed on both sides of the racial divide.

I know there are plenty of other "colored" things I could do besides telling my stories--the mass meetings in town, the marches in Birmingham, the voting rallies upstate. But truth is, I don't care that much about voting. I don't care about eating at a counter with white people. What I care about is, if in ten years, a white lady will call my girls dirty and accuse them of stealing the silver.

There are of course characters that don't fit the racial stereotypes or don't behave in the prescribed manner--characters who revert to human kindness and temporarily forget the entrenched segregation. It is difficult to see who is more shocked by this--their peers or the maids themselves.

She clear her throat again and I'm wondering why she telling me all this. I'm the maid, she ain't gone win no friends talking to me.

The thing I liked best about this book was the fact that the author made it clear that the maids had both good and bad experiences depending on who they worked for. There were clearly employers who went out of their way to demonstrate care and compassion but others who treated the maids like trash on the street.

It is a good reminder for us, as Christians, that cultural division and attitudes are not an excuse for sinful behaviour. We all have a choice. Just because everyone is doing something doesn't make it right--we should listen to our consciences, not over-ride them. The Help is also a reminder that God sees what we are doing in secret even though others may not know about it. The book written by the maids exposed all of the behaviours of the employers that they had no doubt expected to be kept hidden--the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to remember that God sees all of our dealings with others and He will hold us to account.

This book is a page turner, the author somehow makes every-day details interesting and I was hooked. I wanted to give it 5 stars and I would have done but for the bad language and fairly regular blasphemy--there are at least fifty swear words in the book. There is limited violence and a scene where a man exposes himself which some readers might find offensive although it wasn't especially graphic. There are also some graphic details of a miscarriage which may upset some people.

I recommend this book.



( )
  sparkleandchico | Jun 2, 2017 |
I loved this book. The author grew up in Mississippi and bases the novel on her experiences as a child growing up in the segregated South. She focuses on the strange combination of intimacy and separation that existed between black maids and the white families they worked for. This was especially true with the children, who were close to the maids that raised them -- but at some point would be taught the "rules" that were observed before the Civil Rights movement changed things. Although this book deals with a serious subject, the author does it in a most entertaining way. She tells her story from three parallel points of view: those of two black maids and a twenty-something year old white woman who challenges the status quo. I was hooked by the second paragraph, in which Abilene, one of the maids, describes a baby this way:
"I ain't never seen a baby yell like Mae Mobley Leefolt. First day I walk in the door, there she be, red-hot and hollering with the colic, fighting that bottle like it's a rotten turnip."
Who wouldn't want to hear more from that character? All are as well written. It's great to find a good book that is also a fun read. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1284 (next | show all)
This is fun stuff, well-written and often applause-worthy. My only problem with The Help is that, in the end, it’s not really about the help.
 
I finished The Help in one sitting and enjoyed it very, very much. It’s wise, literate, and ultimately deeply moving, a careful, heartbreaking novel of race and family that digs a lot deeper than most novels on such subjects do.
 
As black-white race relations go, this could be one of the most important pieces of fiction since To Kill a Mockingbird... If you read only one book this summer, let this be it.
 
“Mississippi is like my mother,” [Stockett] writes in an afterword to “The Help.” And you will see, after your wrestling match with this problematic but ultimately winning novel, that when it comes to the love-hate familial bond between Ms. Stockett and her subject matter, she’s telling the truth.
 
Her pitch-perfect depiction of a country's gradual path toward integration will pull readers into a compelling story that doubles as a portrait of a country struggling with racial issues.
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathryn Stockettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsen, MonicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gram, CathrinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingrid VollanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamia, JennaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, OctaviaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svendsen, Birgitte VictoriaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turpin, BahniNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Grandaddy Stockett, the best storyteller of all
First words
Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960.
Quotations
De bus jakkert door State Street. We steken de Woodrow Wilson Bridge over en ik klem m'n kaken zo stijf op mekaar dat m'n tanden zowat breken. Ik voel dat bittere zaadje groeien in m'n binnenste, 't zaadje dat is geplant toen Treelore dood ging. Ik wil 't liefst zo hard gillen dat Baby Girl me kan horen dat smerig geen kleur is, dat ziekte niet de zwarte kant van de stad is. Ik wil voorkomen dat 't moment komt- en 't komt in 't leven van elk blank kind- dat ze begint te denken dat zwarten slechter zijn als blanken.
I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.
My face goes hot, my tongue twitchy.  I don't know what to say to her.  All I know is, I ain't saying it.  And I know she ain't saying what she want a say either and it's a strange thing happening here cause nobody saying nothing and we still managing to have us a conversation.
"Can't afford no air-conditioning. Them things eat currant like a boll weevil on cotton."
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Passionnant drôle et émouvant , La couleur des sentiments a conquis l'Amériques avec ses personnages inoubliables .Une jeune bourgeoise blanche et deux bonnes noires . Personne ne croiraient à leur amitié; moins encore la toléraient . Pourtant , poussées par une sourde envie de changer les choses , malgré la peur , elles vont unir leurs destins , et en grand secret écrire une histoire bouleversante . THE LIFE STORIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MAIDS LIVING IN ALABAMA BEFORE AND DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
Haiku summary
Black women raise kids/of white women who make them/use separate toilets (LC Brooks)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399155341, Hardcover)

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, 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 gone.

Aibileen 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 broken.

Minny, 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 own.

Seemingly 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 crossed.

In 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:15 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women--black and white, mothers and daughters--view one another.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241950805, 0241956536

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