Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Help

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett

464 pages
18 hours and 19 minutes listening time

Grade A+

So I finished this book on Wednesday and took a whole day to think about it and think about what I wanted to write. I wanted to do this book the justice it deserves. It is fabulously written, and very......very......perfect. I enjoyed everything about this book. The audio was perfect because there was a different narrator for each main speaker. It really really brought each person to life.
It is a story written about three women, Miss Skeeter, a young white woman that just graduated college and doesn't really know what to do with herself. She is oddly tall for a sweet little southern girl, and didn't have any marriage prospects in college, to her mother's dismay. Aibileen, a 54 year old black woman that has been a maid in the homes of white people for practically her whole life. She has raised 17 children , 16 of them white. She is strong, caring, and just as loving as she can be to the children she raises. And Minny, an outspoken black maid that has been a maid since she was a teenager. She is a mother to 5 children with one on the way, and has been fired from nearly every job she has had.

Miss Skeeter is on a quest to find her old maid from her childhood that has disappeared while she was at college. In the mean time, she finds a job at a local paper answering household cleaning questions. Since she was raised in a home where someone did all the cleaning, she doesn't know a darn thing about cleaning. She seeks the aide of her best friends maid, Aibileen. As they start a relationship by answering the cleaning questions, Miss Skeeter thinks that she should write a book. A book about the stories of a life of a southern black maid.

I loved how Miss Skeeter interacted with the maids, and made them feel as though there wasn't a difference between them. During the times right after the civil war, where black and white were "separate but equal" there was still a lot of racism running rapid though the south, especially in Mississippi, where they live.

Miss Skeeter risked everything she had, including her friends, her family, and her relationship with the 12 maids that told their stories, to help make a difference in the world. One of the best quotes in the book was during a Miss Skeeter chapter while she is listening to the radio driving home from her friend's house:

"And out comes a man's voice, drunk sounding singing fast and bluesy......and I listen to the song, it is better than anything I have ever heard, "You'll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin'." A voice in a can tells me that his name is Bob Dylan."

I loved this, not only because I am a HUGE Bob Dylan fan myself, but that was what those times were, they were changing. They were about people standing up for the rights of others and for themselves. It took courage to sing about it, but it took even more, to be one of those that stood against the grain.

It is a terrible thought to know that racism is still floating around. It is nice to know that we have come this far, but we still have so much further to go. This book was just incredibly beautiful and endearing. I am so happy that I read it. I will also recommend it to anyone that asks for a recommendation.

I will warn you, there are some tough parts to get through. There is one scene in particular that is very hard to read, but if you can know that the good out weighs the bad, then you will simply adore this book as much as I did.

On a side note, Matt thinks that I should start using the Harry Potter OWL scoring system with my book reviews. I would love to do that, but am afraid that not everyone would get it if you haven't read Harry Potter.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I am going through some heavy withdraws here. I want so badly to add Harry Potter to my iPod and listen to the sweet sound of Jim Dale's voice and to finally get back to Hogwarts, I can hardly breathe.

And I am STRUGGLING with a couple of books right now. The Magicians, and Harry, A History. I simply force myself to turn them on but struggle to actually keep them playing. I am hoping to get through them and on with my life by the end of May.

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