Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: The Help

To answer Michelle's question about how I liked The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, here is the book review I posted on
[Spoiler Alert review] Funny, endearing, heart-rending. This book fully engaged me from start to finish. I loved Aibileen, liked Minnie, identified with Skeeter; and my heart ached for all three as they determined to tell the truth about racial prejudice at a time when doing so was dangerous. The Help is a modern To Kill a Mockingbird.

Seeing what colored maids of white families endured in the 1960s disturbed me. Seeing what whites did to blacks who crossed arbitrary, capriciously hateful lines made me sick to my stomach. Knowing I was alive but oblivious when all this went on, when I was old enough to be aware and care, sobered me. I appreciated how effectively this story of three brave women transported me to that historic time. This book also made me so grateful for progress in the racial equality arena.

Although The Help deals with a serious topic, the book is humorous, thanks to Aibileen's and Minnie's senses of humor and precious, precious candor. Author Stockett brilliantly portrays the three main characters, as well as the landed gentry.

My only disappointment was a weaker ending than I'd hoped for. That societal changes at the end of the book weren't more dramatic reflects conditions in the 1960s. It gratified me that the courage of Aibileen, Minnie, and Skeeter throughout the story generated even more courage in them, for their personal futures. I was rooting so hard for them, I guess I forgot that strength of hindsight cannot instantly overpower longstanding societywide hatred.

Among many things I liked about The Help ~ including the use of dialects and the three-points-of-view approach to telling a story about points of view ~ was the example of Aibileen's and Minnie's Christian church being truly the family of God. 

Some other book reviews I've written are at, in case you might like to read them. The general site is a good place to go for broad selection of book reviews. 

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Ditto your comments Jane. It's my understanding that the film rights have been sold and this book is being made into a movie.