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I felt the book gave a true picture of what the maids endured during this time. My mother worked as a maid and I always felt she was not treated as a "human" because of what she did. Her employer reminded me of Hilly, it did not matter who the person was, Hilly felt she was helping because she employed the maid, not that there was a lesson to be learned from their meeting. Hilly's insensitivity is displayed today, those who have and the have-nots.
I think this is an important book because of the bigger picture it provides. Some have criticized it for dialect, inconsistency, and inaccuracy. The author addresses these issues in her note, and does not claim the book to be perfect. It is my opinion that she exposes the overt racism well, but she exposes the subtle racism in a masterful way. Subtle racism is still a large problem today, and this book brings attention to a still relevant issue by giving us a background of the attitudes our parents and grandparents had. Literary perfection is not the point of this book, although it is well written. I will read this book again in the future and watch the movie when it comes out. Reading this book gave me a glimpse into the lives of these black women (and their oppression) that I will never forget. I am sad that this is a part of our history as Americans, and I think it is important to talk about it, bring attention to it, and never forget how they were treated, and to recognize how wrong it was.
Writing it Safe
I found the book enjoyable yet shallow. I was truly disappointed at the end. The platform was set for a real dialogue about race, class and equal rights and somewhere in the middle the opportunity was missed. It was as if the writer became scared and watered the issues down as not to offend anyone. The book lost its heart and purpose. The writing was safe.
I think the book deserves the credit it has been receiving, now the movie...I'll see, that may be a different story.
Civil Rights through a soap bubble
Determination on Skeeter's part is what drives this book. What starts out as a quest to find an answer to a question, finds it's own path, in the context of the times.
It is understandable that one may want their voice heard, but because of circumstances they are unable or unwilling to express them.
The early sixties was a time that deserves stories such as this. It was a time when change was coming, the tree of segregation was being pruned - twig by twig.
Then in 1965, that tree was struck by lightning - The Civil Rights Act severed that tree.
The Help is just one story, on the branch of that tree.
That is what I liked about the book; most everyone in the book branched out and helped to change the times.
I sense that the movie is going to focus on the characters that were uprooted...I hope not.
I am shocked that this book has become a best seller. I found it both intellectually and emotionally dishonest to the point of cringing. The author's voice of the black maids came across as hokey and patronizing. The "good" white character of Skeeter, weak and one dimensional. I find it astonishing this writer is being taken seriously as a major new talent. I didn't even find the book that readable after about the first fifty pages. Why would Minnie and Abilene agree to being interviewed by such a callow and opportunistic character as Skeeter was beyond belief. All the characters are so emotionally and politically naive it insults the reader's intelligence.
Terry Smith, M. A.
An exceptional and enthralling account of the old South
I could not help but cry as I read Stockett's novel of interest. I could not put the book down, for I am a product of both a mother and a grandmother who served as the "HELP." The stories they related to me in my adult years were unbelievable and heart-wrenching. The things they tolerated, yet they remained quiet and cooperative, knowing that all they endured was for their babies to have a roof over their head and food in their little stomachs. Stockett has done a superb job in capturing the real flavor of that era about which America does not wish to verbalize. I can hardly wait for the movie adaptation to appear. Indeed, I am a fan of this great writer.
Children of the help
My grandmother was "the help". I grew up knowing that she'd spent her life loving children like MaeMo. She told me stories about the children who needed her to love them. I have a picture of my grandmother right out of Miss Leefolt's bridge club, where she's holding a silver tea service; wearing a freshly washed white uniform just like Aibileen. Thankfully, unlike Minny, my Grandmother didn't groom my mother to grow up and get her own white family. While The Help captured the complexity between the Black domestics and the white families they proudly served, the children of the help have a side that's yet to be told.
How did this exist?
I grew up in the time frame described in The Help. I was the white child loved and nurtured by the black maid who ate in the kitchen and used a separate bathroom. I can not explain how amazing and freeing it is to finally read something like this book that captures such a difficult and confusing part of my young life so clearly. My mind will never really be able to come to rest with what my childhood taught me about race. I have an illusion that all black women are loving and a guilt for every bad thing all black people have suffered. I know the truth but my emotions are still stuck back in my young years where the black and white people I loved so much seemed not to notice all the meaness. I have long ago given up trying to resolve my feeling but it is very good to know my experience is understandable and shared by others who lived through this time of social insanity.