Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book 93: The Help

The Help is probably one of the trendier books that Ive read this year. Although I did read it in that lull period where the movie isnt in the theaters but not yet on DVD. Its a very provocative book that discusses racial ideas and even social divides between the help and society ladies of Jackson, Mississippi during the mid-sixties.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was her debut book. And it couldnt have been better, except with a few less liberties with history.   The movie helped to raise the profile of the book. This book was sold out a few local stores while I was trying to locate it for my mom because of the popularity to the book. But the book has also brought out a lawsuit by her brothers maid, divided her family and people in Jackson, Mississippi were less then happy by this book.

The Help takes the point of view of saintly Aibileen and outspoken Minny as the black help who clean and even raise the kids of Skeeter, Hilly and Elizabeth. Skeeter was trying to figure out her path and stumbled upon an idea to write a book about what its like to be the help for white society.  This idea isnt without any danger in volatile Mississippi. But contrary to the movie trailers would like you to believe, this book is much more about the writing of the book and actually what it is like to be the help. The books release and effects on the town really only happen in the last hundred pages or so.

This book was good. Now everyone was warning me it was a little slow in the beginning. I never found that. I found myself instead being enveloped in the atmosphere. You could feel the south in many ways. By having the more ethinic slang/dialect, it just helped to set the tone. It really helped to make the story.  The pacing was pretty solid. Everything was developed and placed although I did find myself at times going : I wonder what’s happening to Celia or Skeeter or Aibileen only to see that the next chapter or maybe two at the most before the perspective switched and went to the people I were wondering about.

This book did a better job of shifting perspectives compared to some books that I’ve read lately that had multiple perspectives. It helped that the three girls had three well defined personalities that could just shine through and they were distinct personalities. So I liked knowing just by the attitude, spoken words and etc who was the speaking.

The book was deeply layered.  I loved that.  It wasn’t just a quick easy read that talked about race. It was deeper then that. It was about learning about yourself and doing something unexpected, it was about learning how lines in society can feel both concrete and yet nonexistent all at the same time, and it’s about the civil rights history. 

I really liked The Help. It was a great book that was easy. It was my way to relax as I tried to get my allergies under control after dusting too much at work. It was a rich book that had so much to it. I would highly recommend this book and I’m glad to pass the book off to my sister.  

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