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The Help Paperback – April 5, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Praise for The Help
“The two principal maid characters...leap off the page in all their warm, three dimensional glory...[A] winning novel.”—The New York Times
“This could be one of the most important pieces of fiction since To Kill a Mockingbird…If you read only one book...let this be it.”—NPR.org
“Wise, poignant...You’ll catch yourself cheering out loud.”—People
“Graceful and real, a compulsively readable story.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A beautiful portrait of a fragmenting world.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“The must-read choice of every book club in the country.”—The Huffington Post
“At turns hilarious and heart-warming.”—Associated Press
“In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, Stockett spins a story of a social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide.”—The Washington Post
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 sixteen years. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.
Top customer reviews
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I had avoided it in the past because there was a certain level of hysteria about it, and when people go around quoting books, I kind of get turned off them ("You is kind..."). Also, I had some unease about the idea that the white author was using black stories to sell a book - it felt a little like literary blackface.
ANYWAY, reservations aside, I just completely and absolutely loved this. Lovely characters, nailbiting story (as much as I loved the book, I was terrified the whole time that The Thing was going to happen), beautiful message. It was just great. And it dealt with its subject matter with appropriate sympathy and sensitivity.
For anyone not living on Earth, the story revolves around three characters, Skeeter (yup), a white girl who wants to be a writer and is told by a New York publisher to write about what she cares about, Aibeleen, a domestic helper (they are called "maids" in the book) who has lost her son but nonetheless loves the white people's children she cares for, and Minny, also a maid who has a bit of a problem with talking back to her unreasonable white employers.
Well, it turns out that the thing that Skeeter cares about is civil rights (although she doesn't quite realise it yet). She sets about writing a book about the relationship between white Southern women and their help, and asks Aibeleen, who works for a friend of hers, to get other maids to talk to her. Only problem is that they are actually risking their lives - and certainly their livelihoods - to do so.
The Help is an emotional rollercoaster with a touching message and a strong undercurrent of hope. If you, like me, weren't sure about reading it, I can't recommend it strongly enough.
I know there has been controversy over this book's subject matter, especially because it was written by a white woman. But only a white woman could have gotten access to the many homes to see what was happening. I think the protagonist saw the maids as individuals with hearts and souls. Women who loved their family, but often loved the family they worked for too.
This is a story that needed to be told. A story of struggle in a time in our history that we like to think is completely in the past. Sadly, we seem to learn daily that the past comes back to haunt us, often with a vengeance.
Stockett did an excellent job telling a story that is sympathetic to the maids. If the maids were alive today, I think they'd be proud of their depiction here!
in two hours. That said, while I liked the movie, the book was far more enjoyable. The author made clever use of the three narrators. At first,
I thought I might be put off by that choice, but once you adjust to the different voices, the rhythm adds an element to the book that a single point-
of-view wouldn't have provided. The three principal characters speak for themselves.
There are profoundly moving moments in the book and the movie. There are some surprising passages. Kathryn Stockett's humor is a riot. I was
reminded of some of the funniest lines in Steel Magnolias, but I think that the humor is much more deftly handled in this book.
I wish that I had written The Help. I'm glad that I read it. What a great book!
Most recent customer reviews
I'd put off reading this book for a while, because usually when there is so much hype about a book, it doesn't live up to my expectations.Read more