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

by Kathryn Stockett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,999121386 (4.39)1 / 1043
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

Work details

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)

  1. 664
    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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    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (olimamma)
  6. 174
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (paulkid)
    paulkid: Race relations on different continents, told from multiple female perspectives.
  7. 113
    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (susiesharp)
  8. 60
    Roots by Alex Haley (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 51
    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
    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)
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  14. 64
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (krizia_lazaro)
  15. 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.
  16. 20
    Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn (shesinplainview)
  17. 10
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    DetailMuse: Black domestics in white households in civil rights-era USA.
  18. 21
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    amanaceerdh: same themes of southern racism
  19. 10
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  20. 10
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(see all 35 recommendations)

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English (1,156)  Dutch (26)  Spanish (11)  French (6)  Catalan (3)  German (3)  Finnish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Estonian (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (1,213)
Showing 1-5 of 1156 (next | show all)
I am amazed by how much I enjoyed reading this. At the beginning I felt a little uncomfortable by the Help's language - it took a few chapters to get used to it, but after I did, it started to feel completely natural - like actually reading those women's thoughts and being in their heads. I loved that so much attention was being paid to all the hypocrisy and unfairness of the situation at hand. Feeling superior because of your skin color is something I, thank God, will hopefully never understand. And I hope that nowadays, in these modern times we live in, fewer and fewer people feel oppressed and unworthy because of that. ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
Despite having watched the movie first (something I prefer not to do), I really enjoyed this book. Some things were different and there was a lot of new material that the movie didn't include. I very much enjoyed the style of the book because Skeeter, Abilene, and Milly each took turns narrating. The Help was well worth reading and highly entertaining. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Loved the movie when it first came out and just now got around to reading the book. Amazing! Full review on my blog! http://ahjustscrewit.blogspot.com/ ( )
  justwordedlines | Apr 1, 2015 |
I absolutely loved this book, simply couldn't put it down. I found the characters utterly believable and the world they inhabited just leapt off the page for me.

There have been criticisms levelled at the author for being white and writing about the world of the black servant but I have to say, at no point did I feel or sense or read any kind of separation between the words on the page and the actuality of what was happening in the book.
Kathryn Stockett's writing style is easy to follow, the words she uses enable the reader to jump right into the world she's describing, to smell the cooking, to hear the children and to see the prejudices as they occur.

Some of the characters appeared to be more one dimensional than the others but, personally, I think that was supposed to be the point. Hilly's character, for example, was blinkered and narrow minded, driven by prejudice and ambition for her husband to make it in the closeted world of state and local politics. Elizabeth was an archetypal aspiring middle class wife of a semi-professional man who sought to be in the upper echelons and to not have to worry about money or mending. Celia was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who got out and then wasn't sure what to do when she made it.

All of these, I feel, were written to provide more depth to Skeeter's character. She was the protagonist, though many people appear to feel this is Aibileen's book. The reason I say this is that, although the words she was writing belonged to the maids, the journey of the book is that of a relatively naiive rich white girl who starts to have her eyes opened as to the reality of what living in the late 50s/early 60s in the Deep South was like during some of the most turbulent times in race relations and history.

The book's not perfect by a long shot. I would have liked Stuart to have had a backbone but then that would have distracted from the main thrust of the tale I guess as Skeeter wouldn't have learnt that she was never going to be happy staying in Jackson and it would have turned into more of a romantic novel. The fact he was such a wet meant that when she looked at him properly, she rejected the lifestyle that her two main female friends were either living or aspiring to and that took her even further away from them in both emotions and in belief.

I felt she did speak with a believable voice and at no point did I ever feel she was a "white woman trying to speak for a black one".
I have given the book four stars because there were elements I think could have been better but, overall, whatever the author's original intentions, this was at the heart of it, an enjoyable book to read about a subject I have only a smattering of knowledge about. ( )
  Cadiva | Apr 1, 2015 |
I absolutely loved this book, simply couldn't put it down. I found the characters utterly believable and the world they inhabited just leapt off the page for me.

There have been criticisms levelled at the author for being white and writing about the world of the black servant but I have to say, at no point did I feel or sense or read any kind of separation between the words on the page and the actuality of what was happening in the book.
Kathryn Stockett's writing style is easy to follow, the words she uses enable the reader to jump right into the world she's describing, to smell the cooking, to hear the children and to see the prejudices as they occur.

Some of the characters appeared to be more one dimensional than the others but, personally, I think that was supposed to be the point. Hilly's character, for example, was blinkered and narrow minded, driven by prejudice and ambition for her husband to make it in the closeted world of state and local politics. Elizabeth was an archetypal aspiring middle class wife of a semi-professional man who sought to be in the upper echelons and to not have to worry about money or mending. Celia was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who got out and then wasn't sure what to do when she made it.

All of these, I feel, were written to provide more depth to Skeeter's character. She was the protagonist, though many people appear to feel this is Aibileen's book. The reason I say this is that, although the words she was writing belonged to the maids, the journey of the book is that of a relatively naiive rich white girl who starts to have her eyes opened as to the reality of what living in the late 50s/early 60s in the Deep South was like during some of the most turbulent times in race relations and history.

The book's not perfect by a long shot. I would have liked Stuart to have had a backbone but then that would have distracted from the main thrust of the tale I guess as Skeeter wouldn't have learnt that she was never going to be happy staying in Jackson and it would have turned into more of a romantic novel. The fact he was such a wet meant that when she looked at him properly, she rejected the lifestyle that her two main female friends were either living or aspiring to and that took her even further away from them in both emotions and in belief.

I felt she did speak with a believable voice and at no point did I ever feel she was a "white woman trying to speak for a black one".
I have given the book four stars because there were elements I think could have been better but, overall, whatever the author's original intentions, this was at the heart of it, an enjoyable book to read about a subject I have only a smattering of knowledge about. ( )
  Cadiva | Apr 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 1156 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathryn Stockettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birgitte Victoria SvendsenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsen, MonicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cathrin GramIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingrid VollanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamia, JennaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, OctaviaNarratorsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:31 -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 14 descriptions

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Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241950805, 0241956536

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