Best-selling Fiction: The Help

best-seller and a Holywood movie, this must’ve also been one of the most loved and reviewed books online. Guess how I found out about it.

A delightfully candid and moving novel about racial issues in 1960’s South, it tells the story of two black maids and their experience being “the help” of white middle-class housewives from Jackson, Mississippi. Prompted by an aspiring writer – a young white woman in her early twenties – the two maids and a number of others begin to share their stories so as to be published in a book. Although seemingly simple, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. This, for three (good) reasons.

 The Help, Kathryn Stockett

One, there are three narrators – two maids (Aibileen and Minny) and the aspiring writer (Skeeter). Their voices and perspectives are distinct. I could tell who’s writing at any point of the book, just by the style. (Of course, I could only accomplish this feat after I was done with the book, not to begin with)

Second, the story unfolds in layers. There’s the routine, domestic side of their everyday life – silver-polishing, bridge clubs, potty training, nagging mother who is afraid her daughter won’t get married, etc.  There’s the grand scheme of things that you get a glimpse of every now and then – when they mention JFK’s  assassination, or Martin Luther King’s upcoming marches, amongst others. There’s the realisation that in some intricate way these two – the domestic, local and the grand, national – are inseparably linked.

Third, because I worried. Oh my, did I worry. I grew to like the main characters, so I couldn’t bear the thought that something horrible might happen to them. The possibility for something bad to happen to black maids and a white woman writing a book about segregation in the South was high to say the least. The author makes this fact quite clear throughout the book, by mentioning a number of incidents – a young black man getting beat to blindness because of using “white” toilet –  being only one of them.

Last thing I need to mention is that it was awfully difficult to put this book down. In fact, I am grateful for my wonderful husband, who offered to make dinner just so I could finish it. You are the best husband a bookworm could wish for.

If you’re looking for a book that will draw you in from the first pages and leave no room for a social life until you’re done with it, I recommend The Help.

Have you read it? What are some other books you just couldn’t put down?

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13 thoughts on “Best-selling Fiction: The Help

  1. Elissa and I saw the movie together. Fantastic! I will read the book, (haven’t yet), and know some who saw both movie and read book and said both are wonderful.

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  2. I read this and loved it! I also could not put it down and stayed up late a few times to finish it. It was a gripping story with characters you just fall in love with. It also really opened my eyes to some of the things that went on (and in some places are still going on) in the South. It’s a fascinating read and I would recommend it to anyone! I hope to see the movie soon, too!

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    1. Kalyna, I’m with you on the falling in love with the characters part! Especially Aibileen, and especially the way she was bringing up Mae Mobley. She has a beautiful heart, Aibileen and it make you only hope that Mae Mobley will grow to be different than her mum and her friends.

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  3. “I must get my hands on the book…or at least on the dvd!”
    This thought just won’t leave me alone!You should feel guilty now,for this is all because of your brilliant review!:)

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  4. Dear Lena,

    I don’t think I would read this book soon, but I dared to watch the movie.

    I loved it! I am going to put in on the list of movies to see with staff.

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    1. Vika – glad you liked it! And hope everyone else who’s forced to watch it does, too 😀
      do read the book – as good as the movie is, the book is tenfold better.

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  5. Oh, we watched this movie with my husband (I watched it twice) and I would love to read the book. I bet it is better than the movie. It is awesome, inspiring courage. Loved the reporter/writer, the girl with the same red hair as mine…lol. A great character who moved against the current, against the core beliefs of her society…Great courage! Need to learn from her!

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    1. Elena,
      you actually are very much like her – a brave and strong woman.
      My husband and I watched it together, too – and right after I finished the book. But yes, the book is worth reading! I, for one, preferred it to the movie.
      Great to see you here and hoping to see you in real life soon!

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