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The Help by Kathryn Stockett
A heart warmer. You immediately get caught up in the lives of the three diverse, courageous women who travel a journey much like many of us only in a different perspective.
Not to be missed
In spite of some historical inaccuracies, this novel rings true and kept me engaged from beginning to end. (I admit, though, that I did get a little distracted at times trying to figure out which actresses would play which characters in the movie that inevitably will be made.) The characters are well-developed, and there is the right combination of suspense and humor.
Could have been so much better
This is another story that points out the inconsistencies in the relationships between whites and their black servants. On the one hand the blacks were considered inferior morally and dangerous to the health of the whites. Yet at the same time the black maids were entrusted with their most precious things: their children. These absentee mothers underestimated the influence their maids had on the children and the affection their children had for the maids. As long as the help didn’t use the same toilet, their white employers thought they had control of the situation. Kathryn Stockett does an excellent job with this contradiction.
I have no quarrel with the content of this book -- as a native Jacksonian, I can testify that much of it is sadly true. (And it is a welcome antidote to the romanticism of a Driving Miss Daisy. I once read an interview with Hoke's family -- they were completely surprised to learn of the warm, fuzzy relationship between Miss Daisy and Hoke. For all he had ever told them, it was just a job!) BUT this COULD have been an important book with just a bit of ambiguity. You only find characters as unrelievedly bad as Hilly in melodramas and soap operas. I guess I am just disappointed.
Easy to follow, historical infor. of the times, I did not want it to end. A
fun read- could use a bit more depth
trip down memory lane for the older reader, and very informative for younger readers that never were involved in these times. Funny, sad, uplifting
I must agree with previous reviewers, the book is a page-turner and certainly was entertaining. I was, however, occasionally frustrated with the author's failure with small historic details from music to fashion that made the timeframe a lot fuzzier than I feel was her intention. I was very surprised that the editors didn't fact check and remove.
A Great Read
As a native southerner I did appreciate the author’s efforts toward portraying the complexity of racial, but feel that it fell slightly short of making either black or white characters more than flat caricatures. The characters all had the feel that they had been portrayed before. I had higher hopes for a revolutionary novel, but give it props as a good choice for a book club with readers who are more interested in social discussion than literary analysis.
While the author was a little fast and loose with historical events, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Extremely readable, with characters that draw you in.
HIstorical accuracy lacking - bad dialogue
Anachronistic details distracted me and undermined my enjoyment of the story. (I would leap out of bed to find a pen to note down things like " Womens' pantsuits in 1962!!!" or "Typewriter ink!!!") I saw at the end the author acknowledged her error in the date of the Dylan song and Shake and Bake. And left them in the book. But mini skirts in 1963 - 64? Mary Quant invented them in 1965. Referring to people as hippies years before the Summer of Love? If you are going to use details to set the mood of an era, perhaps research is in order. People over 40 (like me) might read the book.
I found the dialogue, esp the "white" dialogue mostly stilted and unrealistic. Try some of it out loud and see how it sounds. Characters were one dimensional. All black people (except Minny's abusive husband) are good. All white people are bad. Why did Skeeter (shades of Scout - couldn't the author have been a bit more creative with the name?) develop a sensitivity to racism that others in her circle don't? Maybe because she isn't pretty or engaged? Only ugly girls are smart? This book made me realize I need to be more involved in choosing our next Book Club read.
Since I had already read "To Kill a Mockingbird", and "The Secret Life of Bees", this book seemed like a repeat of themes of southern sociology, but with a different twist. It was entertaining, but I kept thinking I had read it before.