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I think this book is very interesting because we can compare the book with today's time.
a wonderful moving tale
The Help is the first novel by Kathryn Stockett. Set in the early sixties in Jackson, Mississippi, the story is narrated in three voices: two black maids (“help”) and a young white woman. Aibileen Clark is a wise Negro woman who has raised 17 white children, and lost a son of her own. She works for Elizabeth and Raleigh Leefolt and derives great joy from their Baby Girl, Mae Mobley, although she is under no illusion that this will last. Minny Jackson is a sassy young Negro with a talent for cooking who has trouble keeping her opinions to herself, a trait that has seen her fired from a great many positions. Her latest job is for newcomers, Celia and Johnny Foote, whom she hopes won’t hear of her reputation; Celia, though, is too busy keeping her own secrets. Eugenia (Skeeter) Phelan has just graduated from college, where her Mama hoped she would find a husband, but Skeeter wants to be a writer much more than a wife. She misses her beloved Negro maid, Constantine, who has disappeared and no one will tell her where. When Skeeter’s writing ambition crystallises into a book about the experiences of black maids in white households, Aibileen and Minny decide to become involved despite the enormous risk.
Christianity in "The Help"
This novel touches on many topics, including racial segregation and civil rights and the relationship between Negro employees and their white employers. The feel of the sixties is beautifully evoked with the inclusion of many icons like the Pill, Valium, space exploration, ring pull cans, the Vietnam war, the introduction of Zip codes and sex before marriage. The characters are multifaceted and the dialogue is pitch-perfect. There is humour and heartache, cruelty and kindness, romance and suspense. We learn that revenge is sweet, especially in the form of Minny’s Chocolate Pie. The prose is, on occasions, luminous: “If chocolate was a sound, it would’ve been Constantine’s voice singing.” The ultimate lesson is that the lines between black and white, between quality and trash, between employer and employee are not as definite as they might at first seem. And, as Aibileen says” Kindness don’t have no boundaries”. One of the dangers of reading a novel with so much hype is the very real possibility that the reader’s expectations will be too high, and disappointment follows; the exception is, of course, when the novel lives up to the hype, as this one assuredly does. I loved this wonderful, moving story.
What does everybody think about the anti-Christian message subtly woven throughout the book? Hilly, the villain, remarks to Skeeter, the heroine, "And you call yourself a Christian!" (p.407) among numerous other similar interactions, thereby showing that Stockett sees Christians as hypocrites. Notice, too, that this controversial thread was not in the movie anywhere. Any thoughts?
A wonderful great book! So enjoying and learning!
A Moving First Novel
This book is one that will not disappoint. Although it may seem like it is "cliche" or "dull", it is not. The wonderful first novel is truly moving. Not only did it open they eyes of a book hater (as in someone who has not read a book for personal pleasure in nearly 4 years), it encourages people of all ages, color, sex, etc. to appreciate who they are and what makes them unique as an individual. There is no shame in being proud of who one is. The adaptation of the book to movie is done rather well, but for the audience who has only watched the movie, I strongly suggest reading this book. While the movie offers wonderful imagery and stunning actresses, it is just not as satisfying as reading the well written book. The novel offers much more commentary, allowing the reader to truly understand each character, where the movie only allows the viewer to see the character's actions. While reading the book, read it slowly and take the time to really think and understand what is being said and written. Every word counts.
A great story that could have been GREATER
The only criticism I have is that the story does not focus enough on each character's deep personal troubles such as those of Miss Celia, Minny, Ms. Skeeter, and Aibileen. I would've loved to read more about who they are so I could fall deeper in love with all of them!
the help-a work of art
I am enjoying it. This is not a history book. (If I recall correctly, my history text books were loaded with errors.) This is a novel. It is done by an artist who is painting a picture. A picture of an American landscape - the south. Something is missing from the landscape of the South. Some of it was hidden, some lost, some buried or forgotten. She has uncovered a small portion of the missing landscape and it catches our eye. Some of us stare at this abstract painting for hours. Others can only look for a few seconds (because we cannot understand why her sky is red instead of blue). Her style reminds me of the painter Norman Rockwell...I shall take this one home... and hang it on my wall... to stare at.
I haven't finished reading this book, but a line on Page 6 stuck in my mind. "I spoon out the congealed salad and the ham sandwiches..." Really? No one caught this while editing?