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The Help (2009)

by Kathryn Stockett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
26,389143586 (4.36)1 / 1163
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.
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    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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    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. 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
    Jenniemae & James: A Memoir in Black and White by Brooke Newman (DetailMuse)
    DetailMuse: Black domestics in white households in civil rights-era USA.
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  20. 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)

(see all 35 recommendations)

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» See also 1163 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 1371 (next | show all)
Set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver, three extraordinary women forever change a town, and the way women-mother's, daughters, caregiver's, friends, view one another.
  BLTSbraille | Sep 25, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this. I watched the movie years ago, but this made me want to rewatch it. If you want more of my thoughts on this book, make sure to keep an eye out on my YouTube channel called Completely Melanie for my September Wrap Up Vlog. ( )
  Completely_Melanie | Sep 10, 2021 |
This is a book about an unusual friendship that develops between three women in Jackson Mississippi. Ms Skeeter (not her real name, but a nickname given to her by her brother because she was thin and tall, like a mosquito), Minny a big buxom maid unable to keep a job for long enough, and Aibileen a gentle middle-aged maid who is carrying the grief of losing her only son, as an adult, in a freak accident.

Miss Skeeter is a white woman, an aspiring journalist who still lives with her parents on a plantation. She has the usual array of mostly married girlfriends with whom she has regular bridge and social club gatherings. One of her friends Ms. Elizabeth Leefolt employs Aibileen as a maid and nanny to her child Mae Mobley. This is how the two first meet, passively at first, but then become better acquainted when Miss Skeeter, fills in the job of answering household advice questions in the local paper. Inexperienced as she is in housework she seeks Aibileen's advice on questions like how to remove stains and effectively clean bathtubs.

The civil rights movement was yet to reach Jackson in the 1960s, and it was surprising to me to read about the largely segregated society there, and the bigoted attitudes towards the coloured individuals and communities in their city. Miss Skeeter, like most of her contemporaries, was raised by a black nanny. Her beloved second mother, Constantine, disappeared from her life without explanation. She was still seeking the truth about that loss. Aibileen takes solace in raising Mae Mobley to forget the grief over her own son. Minny is trying to keep her job as the housekeeper and cook for helpless Celia Foote, who is new to town. Fortunately for Minny, Celia is also a social outcast, and does not have access to one of the town's leading characters, who was Minny's former employer, one especially bigoted woman, with a terrible attitude towards colored help.

The shared experiences of these three unusual friends goes on to create something substantial. Miss Skeeter is given a glimpse into the lives and experiences of the coloured help; how indispensable they are, yet how insignificant at the same time. They are entrusted with white people's kids, yet they cannot use the same toilet. Each of these women tries in her own way to work against the prevailing attitude and in the end perhaps their joint struggle amounts to something, a book about the coloured help experience that Skeeter dreams of writing.

This is an amazing story about friendship, humanism and the courage to make a difference, even if it was in a small way. I loved the characters, in their individual and collective journeys. Aibileen in her gentle sorrow and desire to teach her 17th child something meaningful about kindness to herself and others. Minny in her loudmouth rebellion that is so at odds with her struggle at home with her drunk husband and her many children. And Skeeter in her struggle for identity between independent working woman, and a young girl who longs for love.

The author is as native of Mississippi, so her writing is a perfect blend between realistic history and human story.
( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
It's often said that "the book is always better than the movie". In every case where I've experienced both, I'd have to agree, making [b:The Help|4667024|The Help|Kathryn Stockett|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1346100365s/4667024.jpg|4717423] no exception. I worked through this book quickly, but I found myself easily immersed into the world and lives of the characters.

One thing that differs greatly from the film is that Stockett tells the story using first-person narration from three separate points of view - Aibilene, Skeeter, and Minny. Each has a distinct voice - not only in the way they speak but also the way they see the world. There is a depth and richness to this story that goes well above the film (which I also enjoyed). The writing is very well done and I definitely look forward to another novel from Kathryn Stockett. ( )
  crtsjffrsn | Aug 27, 2021 |
I listened to the audiobook and I felt the narrators did a great job. One of the narrators was even in the movie version of the book.
  Seayla2020 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 1371 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathryn Stockettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beck, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, CassandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlsen, MonicaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colombo, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frezza Pavese, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Girard, PierreTranslatorsecondary 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
Van Bronswijk, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Grandaddy Stockett, the best storyteller of all
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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Black women raise kids/of white women who make them/use separate toilets (LC Brooks)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241950805, 0241956536


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