Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Putnam – Amy Einhorn books
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 451
Challenges: The Pub Challenge, Chunkster Challenge
New-to-me author? Yes
Author's website

So..what to say about this book. I guess you first want to know if I liked it right? You're probably like me and have read lots of excellent reviews and wondering if it could really be that good. Let me say this, I might not have liked it as much as others did, but I still loved this book. I read reviews where they said they were drawn in right from the beginning. I'm not sure that happened with me. I like it right from the beginning, but I didn't have trouble setting the book down so I could watch tv or play on the computer. That doesn't mean the book wasn't excellent, just means that it didn't suck me in the way others were. Here's why I'm stressing that point. When I read a lot of excellent reviews about a book and nobody has a bad word to say about it, I end up reading the book and being disappointed. I had built up the book and it never lives up to it. So I love when I can read some excellent reviews and then read some where people say they liked it but that it wasn't great. Then I don't expect as much from the book and I end up liking it a lot more than I would have otherwise. So If you are like me, here's that review. The review where the book is said to be excellent and great and recommended, but also saying don't go into it expecting it to be your ultimate favorite for the year (but you are more than welcome to love it so much that it does become your favorite).

This is the kind of book that I read way past my normal bedtime (which is embarrassingly early) and when I finally stopped reading it, I would continue to think about it and it would work its way into my dreams. It's the subject matter. The relationship between whites and blacks in Mississippi during the early 1960's is fascinating to me. This books subject matter is just that. It's about some of the local black women working as maids to white women. But there is one white woman who doesn't really go think things are as they should be. Due to the time period she can't really say anything out load, but she comes up with something that she can do. She wants to get the maid's stories. She wants their views about what it is like to work for a white family, the good, the bad, and the ugly. She doesn't set out to make any changes or make a statement; she just thinks it needs to be heard. She is eventually able to get one maid to agree to help her. Due to circumstances I'm not going to get into, she ends up getting enough maids to help that she can write a book. Then..when the book is published and word gets out that it could possibly be about people in their home town..things really get shaky (names and locations were changed).

Now, the book isn't only about the book. The story is about relationships. There are three main characters that get to tell their story. Two are maids and one is the white lady who is writing this book. You get to see firsthand their relationship with each other and those they work for or who work for them.

I would also find myself staring off into space at times and just thinking about the whole civil rights movement. I wasn't born yet, I wasn't even a though yet. But my parents grew up during that time period. What must it have been like for them? Did it impact them at all? They didn't live in Mississippi or the deep south, they grew up in and lived in the Midwest, in St. Louis. It also boggles my mind that stuff like that happened not so long ago. I am always surprised that this was happening in the 1960's. It just seems like something that should have been fixed by then.

So for me this was a very good book. It made me think and it was enjoyable to read. The author's writing was great and surprised me that it's her first published book. In fact, I sure hope she is working on another.

So pick up a copy if you haven't already and give this one a try. Hope you like it!

This book has also been reviewed by:

My Cozy Book Nook

Thoughts of Joy

Bibliophile by the Sea

Pudgy Penguin Perusals

Bloody Bad Book Blog

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Leave me a comment to let me know and I'll link it below.

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris


bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to read this one!

Tea said...

I want to read this book so badly. I've wanted to read it ever since I first heard of it. Thank you for the author's website. I love reading new authors.

Kris said...

Bermudaonion - can't wait for you to read it myself. haha! I want to know what you think.

Tea - hope you can get to it soon! I like reading new authors too.

Joy said...

So glad you liked it, Kris! :)

(and thanks for the link)

Literary Feline said...

Great review, Kris! I've had my eye on this one since I heard the author give an interview on the radio. I am glad you enjoyed it. I like books that make me think, even as I'm off doing something else.

Kris said...

Joy - You're welcome!

Literary Feline - Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book whenever you get a chance to read it.

Trin said...

I posted a link to this great review on my blog hope you don't mind.

Kris said...

Trin - Thanks for the link and I've added a link to your review on my post. It was a good book wasn't?

Anna said...

I studied the civil rights movement in college, so this one sounds especially interesting to me. I've been lucky that the few books I read this year that I'd built up in my mind based on reviews actually lived up to my expectations.

Diary of an Eccentric

Kris said...

Anna - I think you would like this one then, I don't think I've read any other book that was quit like this one.