Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Help

Wow. This was a fantastic beautifully written novel. I am quite shocked that this is Kathryn Stockett's first novel. Her characters were carefully developed and the dialogue was authentic. I could feel the heat of Mississippi, the fear of the maids, Skeeters frustration and the unhappiness of the women of Jackson. Very well done.

I know I am late to the party on this, but the premise for those of you also in the dark about this novel...

Skeeter Phelan returns from Ole Miss with a degree and an itch for something more. She notices the unhappiness and ridiculousness of her married Junior League friends. She feels the brunt of her mother's nagging about EVERYTHING and she notices how badly her friends treat the help. Skeeter is fed up and befriends her close friends maid and they, with the help of others write a book. A book that could all get them killed.

1960s Jackson, Mississippi has been discussed multiple times in history books and movies, but The Help definitely enlightens you to an intimate perspective. I don't want to say too much for those who HAVEN'T read it, but let me tell you, the pieces slowly develop which to me makes me love it more.

At the end of the novel Stockett includes this quote by Howell Raines in her personal except: 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.

This point is evident throughout the book when maids and white women and especially Skeeter are trying to figure out how to act around each other and if the kindness is an act or does it mean something? In 1960s Jackson, it was not socially acceptable to befriend or help the 'coloreds.' (I use this word only because it is in the book and how they were referred to at this time.. the word colored really bothers me).

As moving as this book is, it is also extremely funny. There are some great situations, such as a crazed man flopping out his penis and giving a show to a maid and her boss! Or an unfortunate incident with a chocolate pie.

I am so glad I read this and so thankful for Tameka for sending me this from her giveaway!
If you have read The Help, and would like to discuss it in the comment section I am all game for it. I loved it and would really enjoy talking to people about it!

If you haven't read it, go out and buy it!

What is your favorite book about Southern women?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

We read this for my local book club last November & everyone really liked it. I thought it was a great read. I loved Skeeter & Abilene best! I thought the novel ended sort of abruptly though and left me wanting to know more!

Did you hear they are making it into a movie?

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I haven't read this but have noticed it several times on bookshelves! I may have to pick it up next time I'm shopping

Anonymous said...

You aren't as late to the party as me. I really need to read this one!