Customer Review

2,949 of 3,123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book in Years! An Instant Classic!, January 28, 2009
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This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
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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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Comments

Tracked by 31 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 214 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 3, 2009 7:07:49 PM PDT
lolly's mom says:
A great description of this lovely informative book. My sons ask me (I was born and raised in Atlanta).."Mom, why did the Blacks have to come in the back door?" And I answer, "I don't know." I feel like I lived the white version of this wonderful book. What a lesson we all learned from those terrible oppresive times.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2009 11:00:39 PM PDT
JK8 says:
I Know, the book hits home for me too. I didn't, but my mother had a mammy take care of her back in old Virginia. Now we're getting finally to the point where we have to question all of this - how could we treat black servants so badly? How could we not see that black people were just human beings just like us? We as white people have been shockingly cruel and I'm happy things are changing.

Posted on May 13, 2009 7:58:41 AM PDT
Ray A. Els says:
I was raised in the South, graduating from Jeff Davis High School in 1961. I have degrees from Southern universities. I have worked in Atlanta, Charleston, and New Orleans. I also worked in the home town of Harper Lee and Tru. My wife was raised my a black "nanny". I have NEVER heard any Southern white talk about their black domestics in a NEGATIVE manner or treat them as anything but another human being. Its amazing how you Northerners know so much more about the South than the people who lived in it and through its history. You need to go back to reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" so you can keep feeling superior. "The Help" is FICTION and a distortion.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2009 2:37:56 AM PDT
JK8 says:
I was born in the south, south of the Mason Dixon line, to a mother born in West Virginia and a father also from Virginia. My ancestors lived on tobacco plantations worked by black slaves. Don't you assume that I'm a northerner. I know how black people were treated. You may have been very good to your own domestic help, but how were they treated by other bigoted whites? I have seen shockingly cruel behavior done by whites to blacks and you can't just deny it. There are too many witnesses, even in the north. I would suggest you read "Go Tell It On the Mountain" by Baldwin and see if it changes your mindset.

Posted on May 15, 2009 4:39:24 PM PDT
Shemogue says:
You've convinced me to order this book today.

In reply to an earlier post on May 15, 2009 10:01:34 PM PDT
JK8 says:
Thank you. I'm sure you'll enjoy it :-)

Posted on May 19, 2009 9:02:09 AM PDT
Dear JK8,
I. too, loved this book. Your review, and defense of same, is marvelous. If you like to get lost in a book, 'Let The Great World Spin' is just about as good as it gets. Just sharing and thanks again for spot-on reviews.
Marilyn

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2009 11:21:42 PM PDT
JK8 says:
Thank you, Marilyn -
I will have a look at "Let the Great World Spin."
John

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2009 8:46:18 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 28, 2009 8:49:28 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 5, 2009 3:25:19 PM PDT
G. Auxier says:
I read this review and thought the line, I laughed and cried my way through this book and plan to reread it", were a bit soggy, over emotional. Now I sit here with a hand full of wet tissues and a lump in my throat that feels like it will not go away any time soon!
I could not put this book down. I will not be the same you have made a place in my heart. Thank you, Thank You Katherine for writing this book. I hung on every word. It is most definitely readable, believable, haunting, engaging.
As for critics who would disparage. I would suggest that if you don't like this book perhaps you are in it! It takes courage, strength, conviction and determination to write. What does it take to criticize?
As someone who grew up in Jackson, South Carolina I have come to the conclusion that when growing up you have three choices. You can become a hammer. You can become a nail or you can, with great strength and conviction, stick to your integrity. Katherine writes about the integrity. We need more books about courage and integrity.
I can only imagine what it must feel like for a person who has chosen to become a nail, to read this book. It must be a painful denial beyond comprehension.
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JK8
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