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The Help Hardcover – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399155341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399155345
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.4 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8,017 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) 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. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

In writing about such a troubled time in American history, Southern-born Stockett takes a big risk, one that paid off enormously. Critics praised Stockett's skillful depiction of the ironies and hypocrisies that defined an era, without resorting to depressing or controversial clich√©s. Rather, Stockett focuses on the fascinating and complex relationships between vastly different members of a household. Additionally, reviewers loved (and loathed) Stockett's three-dimensional characters—and cheered and hissed their favorites to the end. Several critics questioned Stockett's decision to use a heavy dialect solely for the black characters. Overall, however, The Help is a compassionate, original story, as well as an excellent choice for book groups.

More About the Author

Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. The Help is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
6,436
4 star
964
3 star
275
2 star
141
1 star
201
See all 8,017 customer reviews
Very well written, great characters and great story.
Marie
The women in this book come to life and make you feel like you are truly part of their daily lives.
Carol Jenks
I just finished reading this book which I could not put down.
Natalie E. Tolstyka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2,946 of 3,120 people found the following review helpful By JK8 VINE VOICE on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Help is about a young white woman in the early 1960s in Mississippi who becomes interested in the plight of the black ladies' maids that every family has working for them. She writes their stories about mistreatment, abuse and heartbreaks of working in white families' homes, all just before the Civil Rights revolution. That is the story in a nutshell - but it is so much more than just stories.

This is the best book I have read in years! I can't recommend it enough! It is fabulous and I think they will make a movie out of it. I would compare it to the writings of Carson McCullers, Harper Lee, Truman Capote and even Margaret Mitchell. The story grabs you and doesn't let you go. You can smell the melted tar on the Mississippi roads, the toil in the cotton fields, the grits burning on the stove. The theme is the indomitable will of human beings to survive against all odds - because of the color of their skin. It is a heart-wrenching account and you will never fondly remember the times of the Jim Crow laws (if you ever did). The pure, down and out bitchery of the white ladies who become dissatisfied with their maids and proceed to ruin their lives is portrayed vividly. The desperation of the maids' circumstances is truly touching. I have laughed and cried my way through this book and plan to re-read it. I highly recommend this book because it is going to be talked about as the best book of the year.
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1,390 of 1,471 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Granfors TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A new classic has been born. Kathryn Sockett's "The Help" will live in hearts and minds, be taught in schools, be cherished by readers. The three women who form its core, idealistic Skeeter, loving Aibileen, and sarcastic, sassy Minny, narrate their chapters each in a voice that is distinctive as Minny's caramel cake no one else in Jackson, Mississippi, can duplicate.

These stories of the black maids working for white women in the state of Mississippi of the 60s have an insiders' view of child-rearing, Junior League benefits, town gossip, and race relations.

Hilly is the town's white Queen Bee with an antebellum attitude towards race. She hopes to lead her minions into the latter part of the century with the "enlightened" view of making sure every home in Jackson, Mississippi, has a separate toilet for the help. Her crusade is, she says, based on clear hygienic criteria, which will save both blacks and whites from heinous diseases.

Despite the fact that the maids prepare the food, care for the children, and clean every part of every home, privy to every secret, many of the white women look at their black maids as an alien race. There are more enlightened views, especially those of Skeeter, a white, single woman with a college degree, who aspires to more than earning her MRS. Skeeter begins collecting the maids' stories. And the maids themselves find the issue of race humiliating, infuriating, life-controlling. Race sows bitter seeds in the dignity of women who feel they have no choices except to follow their mamas into the white women's kitchens and laundries. Aibilene says, "I just want things to be better for the kids." Their hopes lie in education and improvement, change someday for their children.
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733 of 799 people found the following review helpful By KMG55 on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to come across an advanced reader copy of this book. Set in Mississippi during the civil rights movement, the story is narrated by the three principal characters...Minny and Aibileen, two black maids, and Miss Skeeter, a young, white woman newly graduated from college. The characters are wonderfully developed, as are the historical background and setting. As each character took her turn at narrating, she became my favorite character until the next one took over again.I was torn between not being able to put the book down and not wanting it to end.
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1,019 of 1,132 people found the following review helpful By Goldengate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having grown up in the South with "help" until I left home, I identified with many things in this book. Stockett has done a marvelous job of evoking time and place, from the food to the weather to of course the dialect.

I would have liked to have seen characters that were a bit more multi-dimensional. The maids depicted here were for the most part without failing, their white female employers almost universally despicable. As a male reader, I couldn't help but notice that the few men depicted were pretty miserable people, from the stereotypical wife-beating husband of Minny to the mostly one-dimensional husbands. The one standout was the senator, who was an entertaining character that leapt off the pages and added some variety. I think the book would have benefited from a bit more editing - I enjoyed the first 2/3 very much but then began to find it tiresome as the inevitable unfolded.

I also think that Skeeter's on-again off-again romance lacked depth - and wrapped up too abruptly. (Maybe that was edited out? haha)

Having said the above, I did enjoy "The Help" and would recommend it to others. It was a good first book for an author but leaves me wanting more from someone a bit more seasoned in building characters and handing multiple plot-lines.
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372 of 411 people found the following review helpful By K. Franklin VINE VOICE on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved this book. The characters were so real they seemed like friends. The voices were so true it was hard to believe they were fictional. When I came to the end I was sad that it was over and I knew that the story and its message would stick with me for a long time. This is a book about love and suffering, hatred and faith, fear and courage. It is about women of strength and dignity who carry on and manage to care about others despite an unjust system. It is a beautiful book, unforgettable in many ways. It is touching, thought-provoking, humorous and compelling. It is one of the best books I've read on race relations in the 1960s Deep South. It is gentle, yet powerful, moving without being melodramatic, and most of all, realistic in every detail. I can't recommend it highly enough.

PARENTS AND TEACHERS: Mild, infrequent swearing, painful race issues/gross injustice, oblique/slang references to sex, references to domestic violence, a graphic miscarriage scene, and one short scene in which a crazy white man exposes himself to a maid and her employer.
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