Book Review: The Help

Wnot counting the last book I read) since before 2005, I think, speaks for itself how awesome the iBooks app is. In any case, I thought that now that I’m actually reading (YAY!) I’d include some book reviews on the site. :)

The Help is my most recent read. Written by Kathryn Stockett, the story takes place in the early 1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights movement. The book presents an interesting (fictional) perspective of black maids that worked for white families in that area. The core characters are a young white woman, and two black maids who tell their stories, and enlist the help of other maids to also tell their stories that eventually get put together as a book. They risk their lives doing this.

Having just finished reading what was basically a love story, I wasn’t sure I was going to get into this book, but I got sucked in immediately. The author switches perspective several times throughout the book, and some of the text is written in “conversational” English – as the person you’re reading about would think or talk. But it’s done very well and doesn’t cause you to stumble trying to follow along. The perspective changes can be a little weird at times, and sometimes I forget who is doing the thinking – but I guess that helps make the point of the book.

It reminded me how relatively recent the civil rights movement took place. I would like to think that a lot has changed since then but really, who am I to say that and/or how would I know. How many things from that time period still linger, but are not as noticeable or socially acceptable to be as obvious. The author is white, and I wish I knew if she did in fact interview people who lived through this time in history to get a realistic as possible perspective. I would assume so. I would also love to know how someone who is black feels about the book – especially someone from that time period. Do they feel the book portrays a relatively accurate description? I know the point of the book is to show how we’re all just people. We’re all the same. Of course this is true, but how we are treated by others can vary greatly – and I’m sure that sadly sometimes the color of your skin can still influence that treatment.

The characters are very well defined and I’ve found that this is an important key for holding my interest in a book. I feel like I know these women. I wasn’t ready for the last page of the book, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them. It was a great book and I highly recommend it.

If you’ve read the book, I’d love to know what you thought about it.

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