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Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

Created: 10/21/10

Replies: 50

Posted May. 20, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dave s

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 20

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

A fascinating approach to discussing the subject of prejudices/racism. While I enjoyed the book, therefore, I found myself wishing she would delve more into her characters---she created some interesting ones to be sure, but I felt I didn't really get to know them as much as I wanted.

So, a good book but not a great book


Posted May. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
darlenec

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I read 2-3 books a week, all genres, and must say this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Our book club loved it - and discussion stayed on book instead of veering off on a million other topics like we sometimes do. A lot to this book - makes you think on many levels.


Posted May. 21, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett
Narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, Cassandra Campbell

Ms. Stockett does not hook all readers or listeners immediately. However, after three chapters, it seems impossible to stop reading or listening.

One surmises that a white person raised in Mississippi in the sixties is offended by Kathryn Stockett’s recollection of her southern upbringing. A northern white person that lived through the sixties, particularly in small town (mostly white) USA, feels like a voyeur in the kitchens and living rooms of a closely knit southern community.

The binding of the town’s closeness unravels with Stockett’s interviews of black neighbors that reveal their roles and experiences as “The Help” for white Mississippi families. Anyone that lived through the sixties or read about the Black Panthers, Medgar Evers, or Martin Luther King, knows this was a difficult and tumultuous time in American history. Stockett reflects on the changes that were occurring on a smaller scale in the homes of black and white Mississippian’s.

Big and small influences on southern race relations are concretely revealed in Stockett’s book. She shows the influence that black nanny’s had with children of white families by telling the story of A-B’s (Abileen, a black nanny) relationship with Mae Mobley (a pre-school child of a middle class white family). A-B makes up stories to tell Mae Mobley, like the story of “Martian Luther King”, to explain there is no difference between white and black people, except for the color of their skin.

Stockett may dwell a little too much on the inequity of white and black existence in the south of the 1960s but her book is not a vilification of Mississippi but a reflection of how trapped human beings become by the influence of their neighbors and by the economic condition of their lives.

This is a wonderful book to listen to with narrators that bring its characters to life. Stockett helps listeners understand how ambivalent, sometimes intransigent, human beings become when equality of opportunity is denied based on differences of color, economic circumstance, educational accomplishment, or place of birth.

This is a story of the human ideal of having an equal opportunity to become the best one can be.


Posted Jun. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
anneb

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I couldn't put it down, and when I did, I couldn't wait to pick it up again. I loved it, I loved the story, I loved the dynamics between the characters and I loved the revenge pie. It made me feel... if "strange" is the right word... that this book, the Civil rights movement and MLK happened just a few years before I was born. Granted, we've come a long way from that time, as a society as a whole, but when I heard that Southern women were condemning this book, I had to wonder how far along have we really come?


Posted Jun. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanne

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I read this book when it was first published and it stayed with me for a long long time. It is one of my favorites over the past several years. I re-read it for my local book discussion group. I was appalled that one of the gals did not like it because of the accents and southern dialect- she did not want to read "poor grammar." Because this occurred (civil rights movement) I was particularly interested. I will be very interesting to see the movie coming out this year.


Posted Jun. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
barbarap

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

This rates somewhere within my five most favorite books. The characters were marvelous and I felt like I was right there with them. I also grew up in the North during this era and knew nothing of what went on in the South. It surely was an eye opener for me.


Posted Jun. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rgoldberg1@cox.net

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I read this book a while ago and can't remember all of the details. I grew up in Europe and moved to the U.S. in 1961. Although I was aware of segregation, this book really made me feel so sad and I learned a lot. I have recommended this book to my friends who all lived in NY at that era.

Stockett brings all of the characters to life and loved this book. There was so much dignity in the Help and the employers behaved the way their culture dictated.

Sometimes it got very difficult to read it on an emotional level, but it's one of the best books I've read in a long time.


Posted Jul. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
topcitydiva

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I would concur with Janzr and give the book a 3 (except maybe a high 3). I liked the book and enjoyed it , however I would hardly rate it the best book I've ever read. I also did not find the behaviors betweem white women and their help at all surprising. In fact, I would dare say -not much has changed in that aspect. The great thing about this book is that it has given people an opportunity to speak on and think about race relations and the beliefs we all hold about each other.

Great post everyone!


Posted Jul. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tillieh

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 60

Expert

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I also loved this book and have recommended it to many of my patrons. I grew up in Maryland (technically the South) so I didn't really see much of the segregation in my neighborhood. My father, who grew up in NC, instilled in me the value that we were not to judge people by the color of their skin. My mother was the first generation born in the US (her parents were from Poland and the Ukraine) and lived in NY. She had no prejudicial background because her parents were from European nations and that wasn't really an issue there. I guess the biggest surprise came from Dad who, although raised in the South during the 30s-50s, came away with the point of view that he did. When I finished the book, I immediately went to my dad and thanked him for raising me not to judge people by the color of their skin.


Posted Aug. 18, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beadydee

Join Date: 08/18/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I thought it had much to say about all of us, even those who live in the north. It was very well written and painted a vivid picture of Mississippi in the 60's. I'm sure that a good deal of the story is based on the author's own experiences. I just saw the movie and am very glad I read the book first, because the movie didn't come anywhere touching me the way that this wonderful book did


Posted Aug. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

The Help turned out to be the best book in our club in several months. The characters were spot-on for that generation and the emotions (fear, arrogance, frustration) were well explained and believable. We were very anxious to see the movie after such a great book.


Posted Aug. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

COMPARISON OF THE BOOK TO THE MOVIE: I agree, "The Help" is a 'touching...wonderful book'. A movie is largely limited to the imagination of its director and the talent of its actors; a book makes the reader his or her own director and actor. A good story, well written, like "The Help" stands on its own. A movie can be terrifically good or bad whether it emulates a book or not. I have not seen the movie but I look forward to seeing how the actor emotes the feeling the book gave to me when Abileen tells the story of "Martian" Luther King.


Posted Oct. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Amber's Gravatar
Amber

Join Date: 10/11/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I read "The Help" because the book received so many positive reviews...and while the subject matter is interesting and worthy of attention, in my opinion this book had much more potential than what was used. I also wasn't particularly impressed with the writing itself. It takes great talent to both tell a story AND craft a sentence, and I believe this book did well with the former while lacking in the latter.


Posted Oct. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
chetyarbrough.com

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

Ms. Stockett does not engage readers or listeners immediately. However, after three chapters, it seems impossible to stop reading or listening.

One surmises that a white person raised in Mississippi in the sixties is offended by Kathryn Stockett’s recollection of her southern upbringing. A northern white person that lived through the sixties, particularly in small town (mostly white) USA, feels like a voyeur in the kitchens and living rooms of a closely knit southern community.

The binding of the town’s closeness unravels with Stockett’s interviews of black neighbors that reveal their roles and experiences as “The Help” for white Mississippi families. Anyone that lived through the sixties or read about the Black Panthers, Medgar Evers, or Martin Luther King, knows this was a difficult and tumultuous time in American history. Stockett reflects on the changes that were occurring on a smaller scale in the homes of black and white Mississippian’s.

Big and small influences on southern race relations are concretely revealed in Stockett’s book. She shows the influence that black nanny’s had with children of white families by telling the story of A-B’s (Abileen, a black nanny) relationship with Mae Mobley (a pre-school child of a middle class white family). A-B makes up stories to tell Mae Mobley, like the story of “Martian Luther King”, to explain there is no difference between white and black people, except for the color of their skin.

Stockett may dwell a little too much on the inequity of white and black existence in the south of the 1960s but her book is not a vilification of Mississippi but a reflection of how trapped human beings become by the influence of their neighbors and by the economic condition of their lives.

This is a wonderful book that brings its characters to life. Stockett helps readers understand how ambivalent, sometimes intransigent, human beings become when equality of opportunity is denied based on differences of color, economic circumstance, educational accomplishment, or place of birth.

This is a story of the human ideal of having an equal opportunity to become the best one can be.


Posted Oct. 13, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
suzanneb

Join Date: 05/21/11

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

I found The Help a very refreshing read as did my book club. I anxiously turned the pages to see what was going to happen next. It made me laugh out loud which is hard to do. The characters were so well defined yet you didn't know what to expect next! I would not say it is the best book I have ever read but I think it appeals to a large audience.


Posted Dec. 05, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jenniferp

Join Date: 12/04/11

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what did you think of "The Help"?

For me, the most important thing about a book is THE STORY. This book has an EXCELLENT story, whether truly believable or a little idealistic (probably the latter - but hey, we would be a sad society if we couldn't be a little idealistic, right?). The bravery of so many of the characters is what stood out to me the most. Skeeter and Abileen the most, of course, but many of the other characters (whose names I can't recall at this moment, darn it). I, too, worry about seeing the movie and being disappointed, but I do think I'll take my daughter, a young African American girl who has NEVER experienced any kind of REAL prejudice in her life (a kid called her Brownie once in kindergarten, but he was busy calling other kids Fatty and Four-Eyes, so that's all you need to know about HIM) to see it - knowing what life was like for her predecessors will be beneficial, and the story is interesting enough that she will want to pay attention.

I think this is an excellent book club pick because there's so much to talk about - so I'm going to see some of the other threads and talk about it! I'd rate it 5/5, for sure!


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