Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: The Help

Welcome to "What Katie Thinks About Something or Another, Part III."

Seriously, review central, my blog has become.

Also, apparently channeling Yoda, I am.

Ok, that's gotta stop.

Anyway, I'm loving that I'm finally reading again. It's wonderful. If you don't read...please, please start reading.

And put this book on your "To Read" list:

Yep, I liked it.

Pretty much the only things I heard about it were positive, so I was expecting to like it...but then again, I don't like the "Twilight" books, and I hear a lot of positive things about those, too.

Although, that might just be because "Twilight" lovers are loud. I'm just sayin.

So, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

It takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s, so if that doesn't scream "THIS BOOK IS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS!" I don't know what does. And yes, it does focus largely on civil rights. The story is told from the viewpoints of three women: two black women who are employed by white women as "help," and one white woman who is a) desperate to be a writer, and b) questioning the way her white, married friends treat their "help." This white lady is thus inspired to write a book in which she anonymously interviews several different black maids about the experiences they've had serving white families.

There were a couple things I especially liked about this book:
  • Great voice(s). I could practically hear each character telling the story. In fact, sometimes I did hear the characters telling the story, since I read I good chunk of the book out loud to Madelyn. The book is written in such a way that if you read it out loud, you will have a southern black woman accent. Law, have mercy!
  • Got the Civil Rights message across without making me especially angry, upset, or heartbroken. Let's face it, that's not too easy to do. And it even talked about some of the positive relationships that some white women had with their maids, which was nice to hear.
  • Pretty darn funny in some parts. I might have lol-ed once or twice.
But my favorite thing about this book was that (almost) nothing went the way it was supposed to. If there was something that would be just terrible for so-and-so to hear about it, well, so-and-so heard about it. If one character was living in fear that such-and-such would happen, well, it did...

And the characters kept on living and trying and growing. I would say that probably one of the most important things any of us can learn is that life is not always going to go the way we want it to go. Sometimes the worst case scenarios - those things you just absolutely dread even thinking about - will actually happen, and you'll just have to live with them and find a way to keep finding happiness. Tough lesson, right? But I think it's very applicable to all of us.

So yeah, I totally recommend The Help. You'll like the story and love the characters.

I actually finished this one last week and am into my next one: Water for Elephants. Not loving it so far, but I'll let you know the end result.


  1. Oh I'm so glad you liked "The Help" It was my favorite book from last year. Your review is perfect.
    I need to learn from you.
    hmmmmm "Water For Elephants" Loved the history part but not the porno part. What you say? Yeah you read that right. Who recommended this book to you? Just wondering.

  2. Yeah I'm having to skip chunks of "Water for Elephants." I think I still want to finish it... I guess we'll see. No one recommended it to me. I just noticed it on the bestseller shelf in the bookstore a few times and thought it looked interesting. Guess I should do my homework more when I do that. :)

  3. Thanks for posting this. My mom and my aunt (who came to visit her last week from Wyoming) both happened to be reading it at the same time. They LOVED it. I loved the las part of your post: about realizing your worst nightmares. Mine was of a child drowning. Check. Well I guess we all live through whatever we can. (Don't mean to be so blunt; just honest.) P.S. I'm so glad he lived.


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