"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

I've been telling everyone about this book lately, so if you've already heard my thoughts or read it yourself, then you can ignore this post.  If not, go find a copy.  Its been on the LA Times bestseller list at #1 for a year, so you may have to get on a library waiting list unless you can find someone to loan it to you.

This books tells the stories of a group of African-American maids who work for Southern white families, during the time of the Jim Crow laws, which touted the idea of "separate, but equal".  Of course, it didn't end up being equal at all and wasn't really much of an emancipation.  The book also tells the story of a white woman who decides to write about their stories, even if it means that she will face repercussions from the southern society she lives in.

One would expect the heart-breaking stories of hatred and abuse found here, but the books delves to a deeper level regarding the interaction of the white people to their "colored" servants.  The relationship of black nurses to the white children they raise was fascinating, as well as the relationships of the women themselves, both in the white and black communities.  It put me in the time and place with such force that I was loathe to have to leave it and wanted their stories to continue for much longer.  I couldn't put it down so ended up reading the entire book in about a day and a half, finishing at 3am!  I love when that happens.

There are also plenty of moments of humor, one of which is so funny that I couldn't stop giggling while I was reading, so much that my husband actually wanted to know what I was laughing about.  I can't give it away because it is a pretty big part of the plot, but let's just say you will never think of pie the same way again!  This is Stockett's first book, and it is brilliant.

1 comment:

  1. My mom finally read this book and as much as she loved it and wants to possibly get a copy herself, she did have one critique, which I thought was a good point so thought I would share. She felt that the character of Hilly (the mean white woman) was a little too over the top, as far as how outright mean she was. Not that a person can't be that horrible, but my mom felt that a more realistic version would have made her much more subtle in her racism, which almost makes it worse. I thought it was a good point because the characters in any book that I love the most are the ones that have both good and bad within them, and show the struggle between good and evil within themselves. That does not mean that the overall story wasn't excellent. We both could hardly put it down. What are your thoughts?