I try to always post reviews on Goodreads after reading a book, but this book in particular, I felt needed more space to discuss. Actually, this is the perfect space for a book review… so here it goes.
The Help has been on my “to read” shelf for quite some time, even before the movie came out. I was interested in it because of the perspective it presents. A book that discusses African American maids in the 60s, even though it is fiction, just seemed interesting. The Help follows Skeeter as she returns home from college and takes on the daunting task of interviewing maids in her community about what it means to them to work for white families. At the time of strained racial relationships, Skeeter secretly interviews all of the maids that work for her closest friends that she loses during the process. Aibileen and Minny are two of the main maids and are both instant heart-winners.
I can only imagine what it would be like living at that time and part of me wishes I could go back in time to the simplicity of those days. The 60s, while just as much full of violence as today, just seems an easier, simple, and more beautiful time in American History. From the fashion to the literature, particularly the literature, the 60s, from where I stand, seem beautiful.
I finally had the chance to read this book after it being on my list for so long. My American Fiction course required me to find a novel that became a movie, and while the list of fiction stories that became films is extensive, this one instantly jumped out at me. Everything about the book fit the guidelines for an appropriate selection for my research paper and the fact that Amazon had a one-day sale on it, my decision was practically made for me. I “cracked” it open just as soon as it was downloaded to my Kindle.
I have read numerous reviews, both negative and positive, about this book and, as usual, I put any assumptions about how the book would be to the back of my mind in order to remain objective. I’ve read that some readers hated the dialect. I found it easy to read. Reviewers stated that they hated how the maids spoke with a dialect, but the white ladies that employed them spoke perfect English. While I am not the author so this is only speculation, I think this was done in order to establish the difference in social classes. Many of the maids quit school at a young age in order to work as maids and hep provide for their families whereas many of the white ladies received some college courses before marrying.
I loved this book and I wish that the movie would have included some of the scenes that were in the book. The chronology was a little off in the movie compared to the book, but that wasn’t too big of a deal.
Scenes like the naked man in Ms. Celia’s garden would have made the movie even better. It was humorous and added to the story. The small details like Johnny’s friends giving Celia Alabama Slammer shots would have added to the incident at the banquet. Little details like that would have just complemented the story and filled in some of the holes that the movie left behind.
Overall, this book has put Kathryn Stockett on my list of authors to watch. I will definitely be looking into her books from this point on and am glad I finally had the chance to read this novel.