The Help

Images Years ago, when there was just Amazon to do research, I was the keeper of finding new music.  Partnerships are funny.  When one person picks up the slack on something, the other one generally lets go.  So, as Fred has returned to his music passions, he has become the music man and I literally don't look for new music anymore.  Sort of like travel.  I used to have an incredible sense of direction (not that I have completely lost that ) but I am always the driver and Fred is the navigator.  When we drove cross country, in our youth, our car had a sticker that said "Freddie is my co-pilot".  But when it comes to books, I am all over that.  I still use Amazon to find new stuff.  Help by Kathryn Stockett is my latest find.  What a find. 

I have literally been staying up way too late every night because I couldn't put the book down.  I finished last night around midnight.  This is a first novel for Stockett and a seriously impressive book. 

The Help is about a white woman, Skeeter, who comes home from college, in the early 60's when she takes a step back and wonders what it must be like to be a black domestic in a white persons home.  She grew up with a wonderful woman, Constantine who is no longer there when she returns and her realization of what an integral part of her life Constantine was, makes her start to think about segregation and the behavior of white people towards their help. 

The story unfolds through the civil rights movements from Medgar Evers to Martin Luther King.  It was okay for the help to raise the kids, make the food and clean the house but not to use the same bathroom.  Skeeter decides to write a book, secretly, telling the story of what it is like to work in the homes of the white people in Mississippi.  She befriends the housekeepers and soon meets with them secretly while she lets them tell their story.

Each character is interesting and so real.  Each chapter goes back and forth through different charcters voices and Stockett moves the story forward.  Points makes you laugh and other truly make you cry.  Although not a true story, probably quite an accurate tale of a slice of history that nobody ever writes about.  The author, Stockett, grew up in Mississippi and had a black domestic who helped raise her.  She writes at the end of the book that she wishes that she had been old enough and wise enough when this woman died to ask her what it was like working in her house with the underlying rules about the divisions between blacks and whites.  She never got to ask and this story is what she imagines her story would be. 

I loved the book. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Gail

    I loved loved loved this book! Am now on Sarah’s Key via your recommendation. Have you read A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick? xoxo

    1. Gotham Gal

      Have not read A Reliable Wife. Will pick it up.

  2. denmeade

    i’m always looking for new things to add to my reading list. this sounds like an excellent addition. thank you for sharing your finds. i’m currently reading reif larsen’s The Selected Works of T.S Spivet. it wouldn’t be for everyone but i’m really enjoying it.

  3. chefbikram

    Perfect. I had to skim your post because I don’t like to know much about a book before I start. Same with movies. I refuse to even look at the back cover of the DVD case! But, when I saw that you couldn’t put it down, that was enough.I just cut and pasted most of your post to my book club — we have one book left on our current list (Housekeeping) and I suggested we consider this for the next round. I started the club and make it a requirement that NO member has already read the book! A little different, I know, but I’d rather take the risk and have everyone experience something new together!

    1. Gotham Gal

      I like a book club where no one has read the book. Makes for betterconversation.

  4. Alexis Tabak

    Hi Mrs Wilson, Im alexis tabak, Elizabeths sister Susans daughter. I was just telling Elizabeth how much I loved the help an she told me to check out gotham gal, as there is an interesting review. I too fell in love with the story, and as a student at Vanderbilt I sadly recognized alot of the prejudice found in this novel that I experience myself in the south (perhaps not quite to the extent of Skeeter) and realized how much more work there still is left to be done. I loved skeeter’s bravery and her determination and her loyalty to her mother even though she was such a pain. I really hope she ends up ok. I think the most moving part was when all the members of the church signed a copy of “the help”. Overall, a great read and look forward to more book reviews.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully we will meet sooner than later!!

  5. chefbikram

    hey GG,just started the help and love it. my book club did end up choosing it as one of the four books for our next meetings. we just read “bad mother” and it is interesting, but not necessarily “good.” i also just read “the middle” by kelly corrigan. liked it quite a bit. it’s a, erin