Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

I finished "The Help" this past week and I have nothing but THUMBS UP for this book. It was a super fun and easy page turner; one of those few books that would actually keep me awake at night to read.

"The Help" is set during the Civil Rights Movement (1960's) in Jackson, Mississippi. The chapters switch voices between the black 'help' and a white, determined woman who sees that things are not as they are supposed to be. The character developments are memorable and very believable. Mrs. Stockett, the author, captures the feel of black women, including their views and voices and the fear during the 60's. While reading this book, it seemed as if I could really overhear the help talking in the kitchen and see the obstinate white women demanding more tea.

I had just a few drawbacks to this book (definitely not enough to give it a thumbs down, just a few critiques). After living in South Africa and seeing what Apartheid segregation was like, I have less compassion/understanding for the segregation and in the integration struggle here in the States. As bad as it was here, it just seems strangely overshadowed by the horrors I witnessed and have read about during Apartheid. So perhaps this is not a critique of the book, but rather a desensitization on my part. I also thought that the big picture ending was a bit cliche. No more details, as I do not want to give anything away... but I felt that the end could have pulled through a bit stronger. However, minus the two thoughts, I totally LOVED "The Help" and would definitely recommend it as a fun, easy-read, beach/vacation book :)

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