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~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

08/07/2013

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

The summary is long but on point. I'll add this. I loved the film. I loved the book. The film differs slightly from the book, but they're both very good. The characters are so incredibly well written and though it may irk some I really liked the way she voiced Minny and Abileen writing them exactly how they talk and pronounce words in that southern drawl. I could literally hear the way they talked.

When reading this book, I'd just finished watching the first 4 seasons or so of Mad Men and it was so interesting for me to see the same 60's but in a completely different environment. Furthermore being Danish and with no dramatic history of slavery (well, honestly I don't know exactly what the Vikings occasionally did, but I digress) I just sucked the culture history right up. I know this is just fiction, but it's based on some very real circumstances.

I'm trying to recall why I only gave this 4 stars (I really should take notes) and I think primarily it just didn't sweep me off my feet. The ending left me hanging a little bit (basically I just wasn't ready for it to end) and there were a few hiccups along the way. It's still a very enjoyable read though and from my point of view I heartily recommend it.



The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Help
ISBN13: 9780241956533
451 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

4 comments:

  1. I bought this book a while back after hearing all the hype but I haven't read it yet. I should push it up the line. I sometimes get a bit annoyed when authors write characters exactly the way they sound but who know, maybe I won't mind this time.

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    1. I can definitely recommend it :) I usually hate it when authors spell out pronounciations but I think this is very skilfully done. It's very consistent and flows easily

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  2. I only watched the movie. It was funny. I'm not sure I'll read the book even though it seems everyone loves it.

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  3. It may not sound like an enthralling read but this book is not to be put down. This brings back memories of the sixties and how it was like growing up in the south. A really, really great read! Don't miss it.
    AC Repair Garland

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