Rated Reads

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Rated: Moderate

A novel set in 1960s Mississippi written from the point of view of a white woman and two black maids could have easily gone wrong, and quickly. White author Kathryn Stockett was all too aware of that possibility. She says in a section at the end of the book that she “was scared, a lot of the time, that I was crossing a terrible line, writing in the voice of a black person” and “afraid I would fail to describe a relationship (between herself and the black maid who helped raise her) that was so intensely influential in my life, so loving, so grossly stereotyped in American history and literature.” But Stockett pulls it off with aplomb.

Skeeter, a white woman recently graduated from college, has come back to live with her parents on their cotton plantation. Her mother only wants her very tall, somewhat ungainly daughter to find a husband at last and live the nice, privileged life that she is expected to live. But Skeeter (real name Eugenia) has other dreams that her mother and longtime friends just don’t understand: she wants to move to New York and work as an editor at Harper & Row. Instead, she is stuck in Jackson and not sure how to proceed. She misses her beloved maid, Constantine, who was more of a mother to her than her real mother, and doesn’t know why her mother fired her while she was away at Ole Miss, not allowing her a chance to say goodbye.

Aibileen is a maid who has worked for a number of white families over the years, raising 17 white children. She only had one son of her own, an intelligent young man who had promise but few opportunities given the time and place. But he was working at a mill to pay bills and one rainy night fell off a loading dock, and he was killed by a tractor trailer. She hasn’t been really the same since. The young woman she works for is an uptight and insecure member of the Jackson League, who ignores her toddler daughter and worries about her lowly financial situation, as compared to that of her friends.

Minny is a younger maid with a “sassy mouth” who has a hard time living out the role she should, to stay quiet and unobtrusive and just do what she’s told. She has an unfortunate run-in with Hilly, the bossy president of the League, and ends up only being able to find work for a woman new to town who is scorned by the League ladies.

All end up working together on an unlikely and secret project that exposes just how different their lives are, but is a beautiful reminder of how less separates them than the culture would have had them believe.

The Help is a profoundly moving novel that transcends stereotypes and brings to life characters who are sympathetic and real. It opens up a conduit for current-day Americans to come to at least a little better understanding of a time and place that is largely unknown to us.

Rated: Moderate, for mild and moderate language and a crude scene featuring a disturbed, naked transient.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

5 Responses to The Help

  1. Craig Smith says:

    This was a MUCH more enjoyable book than I had anticipated; I expected an obvious “chick lit” style, but was happily wrong. This work is compelling and thought-provoking. HIGHLY recommended.

  2. Thanks for weighing in from the male perspective, Craig. Definitely good for other male readers to know.

  3. Joey Stewart says:

    Is “The Help” appropriate for a 13 year old to read?

  4. 財布コピー、バッグコピー、腕時計コピー、ベルトコピー靴コピーネックレスコピー、手帳コピー、小物コピー、SS品、N品、価格激安、品質の保証,2015人気ブランド偽物,歓迎光臨楽天★送料無料(日本全国)典雅気質!シャネルバッグCHH67723(*^^*)11月シャネル手作り新作(*^^*)時流の先端快適美品!シャネルブーツCH783283四季向け「 シャネル靴」最高な選択!ブランドコピー 代引きコピーブランド 代引きスーパーコピー 代引きスーパーコピーブランドバッグルイヴィトン コピーシャネル コピー
    最も美しいスーパーコピー,超格安ブランド時計コピー激安通販専門店!ブランド品に憧れて、予算オーバーし、諦めなければならないことがありましたか。スーパーコピー品が一番いいチョイスだ思います。少しのお金でも、世界中一番人気を持つブランド品、貴族しか買えない贅沢品がゲットできます。素敵な外観と実用性に優れたブランド コピー バッグ,,スーパーコピー財布,スーパーコピー 代引き,エルメス コピー,ルイヴィトン 財布、ルイヴィトン バッグ、ベルトなどの逸品はお客様に提供します。誰でもブランド品を手に入れられるのは弊社の経営理念です。当店の最大目標はお客様が安心してお買い物が出来き、お客様の頼りになるお店を目指す事ことです。お洒落な貴方はきっとこのチャンスを見逃しなくよ! http://www.okakaku.com/brand-2-copy-0.html

  • The Help
  • by Kathryn Stockett
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: