Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

My sister read this book. She told me I need to read it. But then my Mom came to visit and she borrowed it from my sister. In the meantime, my reading buddy and co-worker read it and said I need to read it. Other friends read it and said I need to read it. FINALLY it passed back to my hands and I snatched up the opportunity. And boy, did it live up to its expectations!

No matter how many times I read about it, it always amazes me how absolutely mean people can be. This book was a fictional story about domestic help in Mississippi in the 1960's and the inequality they had to deal with from their white employers. Today is the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955, and still, 5 years later, the civil rights movement was still struggling.

The book follows three characters' points of view-- Aibeleen and Minny, two black women working for two very different white families, and Skeeter, a white woman who grew up on a plantation, raised by Constantine, her family's help. Each of these women have their own voice and their own unique way of telling the story.

At one point in the novel, Ms Stockett moves from being in the head of just one of three ladies to being in everyone's head. Omnipresent? Not sure what the word is-- basically from first- to third-person and only for one chapter. Normally I'm not a fan of this-- stick to one form of writing, I usually say-- but it worked. I'm not sure how or why, but that chapter I really enjoyed and it didn't disrupt the flow of the entire novel. I may even say that it enhanced it.

I couldn't put it down. The Terrible Awful Thing, the toilet situation, the Benefit...each time I turned the page something new and exciting was happening. Thanksgiving and turkey and mashed potatoes? Pshaw. I want to read! Black Friday, margaritas, and Christmas Tree Lighting in Portland, ME? No way! I want to read! No, I'm just kidding...I really enjoyed spending the holiday with my family as I always do. But it was made even more enjoyable by being able to spend my downtime with such a good book.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome book! I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Minny is a rock-star!" Outrageous but for a reason. Gotta love it. I think one of my favorite scenes, still, is Minny vacuuming that huge stuffed bear and the fur flying all over the place. *LOL* Can't wait for Stockett's next book.