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Book Review: 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett

❶The styles parallel each other as do the messages.

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At the end of the novel, what final words does Aibileen want Mae Mobley to remember?
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I did not expect this book to hit so close to home. After all, I did not grow up in the South and completely missed the racial mind shift in the country. But the book isn't just about racism and civil rights. It's about the employer relationship too. And I did grow up in South America with a maid trying to keep herself out of poverty by making our crazy family happy. As much as we loved her, I can see so many of the pitfalls from these complex relationships in my own history.

I know our maid was stuck between pleasing my mother and raising us the way she believed appropriate. I know it was physically hard to work from sunup to late everyday and emotionally hard to never relax because she wasn't the decision maker of our home and at any moment she could be reprimanded for making the wrong decision.

She had absolutely no power, and yet she was all powerful to shape and mold us. I needed her, felt bad for how much I imposed upon her, but I never voiced how much I appreciated or loved her. I took her for granted. Even though she was paid to love us, I know she did. We were her children, especially my youngest brothers. And yet when she moved back home, we lost contact. Was it out of laziness of our own narcissistic lives or was the complexity of our relationship so draining she cut the tie?

It is my fear that she thinks we did not return her affection and only thought of her as the maid. I often think about her, we all reminisce about her wondering where she is, and more than anything, I just want to know that she is happy and tell her thank you. It is so strange that someone who is such a vital part of your childhood can just vanish out of your life. You only get one in a lifetime. Believe me, I know.

The story is strong and real and touched something deep inside me. I could so relate to the motherly love from Constantine to Skeeter, see that pain in the triangle between Aibileen and Mae Mobley and Elizabeth, feel the exasperation of Minny toward Celia, and understand the complexity of the good and bad, the love and hate, the fear and security.

Stockett captured all these emotions. I also loved the writing style. When style compliments plot, I get giddy. I don't always love grammatically incorrect prose or books about an author trying to be published, but here it works because it's honest.

The novel is about a white woman secretly compiling true accounts of black maids--and the novel is in essence a white author trying to understand black maids. The styles parallel each other as do the messages. The point of Skeeter's novel is to make people see that people are just people no matter the color of their skin and Stockett's novel beautifully portrays that with both good and bad on both sides. The fictional novel cover is decorated with the white dove of love and understanding.

To get us there, Stockett gives us three ordinary birds, a picture of ordinary life asking to be accepted for its honest simplicity. This book is Stockett's masterpiece, that story in her that was just itching to get out. From the first page, the voice of the characters took vivid form and became real, breathing people. I loved Aibileen, but think I loved Minny's voice more because she is such a strong character.

Besides the maids, I loved Hilly as a portrayal of the white Southern belle with the ingrained belief that black people are not as good as whites, verbalized as "separate but equal" so it doesn't sound racist.

My favorite scene was when Hilly says they have to be careful of racists because they are out there. She's a bit over the top, but if you've been to the South, not that far of a stretch. I just would have liked to find some redeeming qualities in her from Skeeter's perspective. While there are some instances where I felt Stockett was squeezing historical facts into the novel, forming the plot around these events instead of letting them play backdrop, and occasionally I could read the modern woman in this tale pushing her message too hard, Stockett's sincerity to understand and appreciate shines through.

She lived this book to some extent and the story is a part of her. Because it's important to her it becomes important to me. View all 40 comments. Mar 15, Ellen rated it it was ok Shelves: The Kindle DX I ordered is galloping to the rescue today AND, for all the book purists which would include me , this is a need , rather than a want.

Post-several eye surgeries, I'm just plain sick of struggling to read the words on a page. However, despite the visual challenges, I read all pages of The Help yesterday. Clearly, the book held my interest. However, I spent last night pondering why the book wasn't as good as my nonstop reading would indicate. Most of all, I think it was the book's ambivalent tone.

In brief, a white woman, Miss Skeeter Phelan--one of Jackson, Mississippi's socially elite--convinces a number of the African-American maids to tell her their story. What goes on in the homes of the upper crust? How do these women really treat their maids? Though the book would be published anonymously and no locations would be given, the stories provide enough detail so that the premise that the book could be received as being about Anywhere, USA defies belief.

Further, while having the book's source known might subject Skeeter to social ostracism, this is the s in Missa-fuckin-sippi in the middle of the very tense civil rights' battles.

For the maids, discovery would mean loss of a job with no hope of getting another position and retribution that could include being falsely accused of a crime and jailed or even being injured or killed. Despite the underlying tension and references to violent events that do occur, the book teeters. At times, I was furious and in tears over the effing racism and the tragedies described. But Kathryn Stockett keeps pulling back. It's as though she wants it both ways. Let's divulge the incredible cruelty and violence that black people routinely endured, but let's also show the goodness of some white people and soft-pedal the whole thing into a broader theme, i.

You can't have it both ways. Though some of the women are kinder to their maids, they did not fight against the "separate but equal" indignities that included building a "nigra" toilet in their home or garage so that the maids' "nasty" germs would not infect them, the separate entrances, the substandard schools, the "justice" system that made a white accusation the same as proof, and on and on and on. I don't want a book to make me cry and then pull back and say, "It's all right.

If you're going to write a book about this horrible time in our history - and in a country where racism is still alive and well - then do it all out. What these women endured deserves more. Don't put it out there and then pull back and use a Doris Day lens. View all 53 comments. While it was a well-written effort, I didn't find it as breathtaking as the rest of the world. It more or less rubbed me the wrong way. It reads like the musings of a white woman attempting to have an uncomfortable conversation, without really wanting to be uncomfortable.

It's incredibly hard to write with integrity about race and be completely honest and vulnerable. And if her intent isn't anything greater, th While it was a well-written effort, I didn't find it as breathtaking as the rest of the world.

And if her intent isn't anything greater, then it makes this book all the more pandering to the white imagination of what it must have been like to be "the help" during that era.

It's passive self-reflection at best and utterly useless. The national fascination with this book makes me sick. It makes me think of my grandmother who was "the help" to many white families for well over 50 years. Her stories aren't too different from those told in this book, but they are hers to tell. If she were alive today, I don't believe she would praise Stockett's book.

In fact, I think she we would be horrified at the thought that her years of hard work in some cases, for some very horrible people would be reduced to some wannabe feel good story of the past. View all 55 comments. Nov 27, Lola rated it really liked it Shelves: You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?

B-but… The Help is different. We all want to live our lives the best way possible and be treated with respect. Miss Skeeter is also an important part of this story. She faces obstacles, so many of them, but does she ever back down?

No, because when she believes in something, no one can kill her spirit. He is the most frustrating part of the story, really. We hate him, we love him, we like him and then we hate him for the rest of the book. Never fear, the underlying themes of the story are extraordinary and that alone should make everyone want to read this book.

I would also like to take advantage of this space offered to me and recommend the movie. Apr 08, karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: View all 84 comments. Apr 02, Kai rated it it was amazing Shelves: Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought. This novel did so many things to me. There was lots of crying Find more of my books on Instagram. View all 14 comments. Jan 12, Majenta rated it it was amazing.

But she's struggling mightily to deal with grief over the death of her something son, and she SURE doesn't think conditions will ever improve for African-American domestic-engineering servants in earlys Jackson, Mississippi or anywhere else in the South.

Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a "I know what a froat is and how to fix it. Aibileen's good friend Minny has been a maid since she was very young, and on the first day of her first job her mother admonished her that sass-mouth, especially her degree of it, is highly dangerous--but it's not long before she's just gotta mouth off As Minny's first "episode" of the book opens, she is yet again looking for a new job, and this time an opportunity pretty much falls into her lap.

Celia Foote needs a domestic engineer, but she also needs a friend, a real ally, even a confidante. Oh, one more thing: I think this plotline was my favorite part. Celia's husband had formerly gone with even been engaged to? But, really, which is the worse attack from Minny: View all 12 comments.

Jan 07, James rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads I should share my views so others can decide if it's a good book for them. I'll have to check out some other people's reviews And I wonder how many people just watched the I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads And I wonder how many people just watched the movie I'll keep this review short and not in my usual format, as probably everyone I'm friends with on here has already read it!

The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is because I felt like some of the stories needed a better or stronger ending. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past Scary thoughts, but in the end, at least the right people got something back they deserved, even if it wasn't as much as it should have been.

The characters are very clear and strong. And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task. Each and every one shows you a different personality: When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future.

I haven't read anything else by this author, but just thinking about this book, and realizing I haven't looked at her other works makes me want to run to her profile now and pick one. Perhaps that's what I'll go do! About Me For those new to me or my reviews I read A LOT.

I write A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https: Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. View all 30 comments. Dec 01, Nancy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Audio books are good for me. I was so engrossed in the story and characters that I drove the speed limit on the highway and took the scenic route while running errands. Sometimes I went out at lunch and needlessly drove in circles, or sat in the parking lot at work, waiting for a good place to stop.

It is in Jackson, Mississippi. She is still grieving for her young son, who died in a workplace accident.

The story jumps back and forth between the three characters, all of them providing their version of life in the South, the dinner parties, the fund-raising events, the social and racial boundaries, family relationships, friendships, working relationships, poverty, hardship, violence, and fear.

I loved this story! The characters really came alive for me, and the author did a good job acknowledging actual historical events which lent richness and authenticity to the story. I laughed and cried, felt despair and hope. This is an important story that is a painful reminder of past cruelty and injustice.

It shows how far we have progressed and how much more we still have to accomplish. View all 54 comments. Mar 02, Jason rated it really liked it Shelves: View all 11 comments. Jul 10, Salome G rated it did not like it. This could have really used a better editor. I didn't understand why the boyfriend character was even in there--he added nothing to the story. In addition, Skeeter keeps telling us that Hilly and Elizabeth are her friends but that's just it--she tells us.

We never see why she would want to be friends with either of them, Hilly especially. Other characters were equally unbelievable. All the maids are good people and so gracious to Miss Skeeter, save one. Reading their interactio The story itself: Reading their interactions with Skeeter, I was reminded of Chris Rock's bit about old black men: I was going to say that it borders on portraying her as a Magical Black Person because I didn't think she had magical powers, but then I remembered the part about how her fellow church members think her prayers are more powerful than others'.

Before reading, my question was, can Kathryn Stockett write this story? I read the whole book. I read the self-conscious afterword. Can Stockett write this story? Well, of course she can. I lean toward no. This is not her story to tell.

I was reminded of Lo's Diary and how Pia Pera said that she thought of a part in Lolita as an invitation to a a literary tennis match and so she had to write it and no, you didn't. And neither did Kathryn Stockett. She said that she wrote this book because it'd never occurred to her what her maid Demetrie's life was like.

So she made up the story. And it was still all about the white lady. View all 46 comments. Mei You could argue that the boyfriend was there to show development in Skeeter's character. Before she began writing her book, she put up with his secret You could argue that the boyfriend was there to show development in Skeeter's character. Before she began writing her book, she put up with his secret-keeping and general unsatisfactory treatment of her.

By the end, however, she cast him aside because she realized how much better she deserved. Leslie Your review is everything I've been trying to articulate. I enjoyed parts of this story but for the most part, eh. It's like so so sex with someone. Y Your review is everything I've been trying to articulate. Yeah it's good at times, but at the end, you wouldn't repeat it and the ending is flat.

The ending really bothered me. White lady goes off and gets a great job while the black folks the story was about gets fired which was actually a blessing but a tragedy for the kids and leaves her husband to raise 6 kids alone.

Don't get me wrong. Minny needed to leave Leroy. Elizabeth is still an idiot. There was nothing redeeming in this story. Jun 18, Dana Ilie rated it it was amazing. There is a lot to like about this book. And I was impressed by the fairly even-handedness of the t There is a lot to like about this book.

And I was impressed by the fairly even-handedness of the topic that Stockett managed. There are good and bad and goodish-baddish people on every side of the issue, and each has different motivations and reasons for being where they are on that side — hate, pride, naivete, personal experiences. Three reasons why I love The Help: It is not a comedy but some lines just had me wanting to read on and on! It is easy to read. Even though The Help talks about a very serious time in American history, the author really thought about how to write the story in a way that it just flows.

I really felt a connection with each of the characters. You get to know them from their point of view. View all 18 comments. Aibileen brings in her best friend, Minny, a sassy maid who is repeatedly fired for speaking her mind, to tell her story, too.

Hearing their stories changes Skeeter as her eyes open to the true prejudices of her upbringing. Aibileen and Minny also develop a friendship and understanding with Skeeter that neither believed possible. Along the way, Skeeter learns the truth of what happened to her beloved maid, Constantine. Constantine had given birth, out of wedlock, to Lulabelle who turned out to look white even though both parents were black.

Neither the black nor the white community would accept Lulabelle, so Constantine gave her up for adoption when she was four years old. When the little girl grew up, she and Constantine were reunited. While Skeeter was away at college, Lulabelle came to visit her mother in Jackson and showed up at a party being held in Skeeter's mother's living room.

When Charlotte Phelan discovered who Lulabelle was, she kicked her out and fired Constantine. Constantine had nowhere else to go, so she moved with her daughter to Chicago and an even worse fate.

Skeeter never saw Constantine again.

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Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early s, 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett shows the peak of racial segregation. The book is narrated by three very different women; Minny, a black maid unable.

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The Help has 1,, ratings and 80, reviews. Meredith said: I have this terrible, dreary feeling in my diaphragm area this morning, and I’m not pos /5. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Help at territorios-luchas.tk Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users.

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We have the Best book review sites and Book Review Blog - The best research papers help offers state of the art book review assistance. Summary and reviews of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, plus links to a book excerpt from The Help and author biography of Kathryn Stockett.