Thursday, March 11, 2010
Posted by Alysa Stewart
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This one is realistic fiction set in the early '60's in Jackson Mississippi. Thus it follows that "the help" refers to the black women working as maids in white homes.
This was definitely the best book I've read recently. It was very well done -- the writing, the realism, the characterization. Personally, I think that books about/around the Civil Rights movement can get very tired very fast if they're done poorly. This book was nearly 500 pages, and relevant the whole way through.
We get the story from three perspectives -- two of them black maids, one a young white woman who is secretly creating a book of interviews of the help. It was so easy to relate to each of these characters. And I loved (love-love-loved) that even though Miss Skeeter was the most sympathetic character (to myself, and the author, it seems) and even though she was lying for what could be deemed a worthy cause -- she still saw the consequences. When you lie to someone, your relationship with them deteriorates. And I loved that Stockett included that in the book. It might have been "easy" or "nice" to gloss over or to fix up again at the end, but sometimes, really, the damage is done.
So I found it very realistic. And enjoyable. I laughed out loud at the funny parts, felt suspense, anger, and sadness. I loved the discussion about the uses of Crisco! Anyway, I'm looking forward to the book club and talking more about it.