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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 522 pages
Published January 3rd 2011 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published February 10th 2009)
Available on: Paperback, Kindle

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The HelpI know, I was late for the party, and one more review might even be irrelevant at this point of the book’s life, but there was so much buzz around this book that I had to check it out and see for myself.

The Help for me was a fast read; I read it in aprox 8 to 9 hours. Once you get hooked and used to all the slang in the book, you’re on your way to finish it. The cover is great (the one with the birdies). After reading the book, you see the cover and you see the whole story on that cover.

The Help is a good book. Entertaining. Not life changing, at least not for me (that’s why it only gets 4 stars). A book about women, written for women. A book of how when women unite for a good cause, they can do powerful things. A book that makes you feel thankful for how times have changed. And even though the fight for equality is still around, after reading this book, you’re glad of how far we’ve come along.

As for the characters, I immediately related to Skeeter, not for her hair. Oh God I laughed so hard when she described her kinky frizzy hair as pubic! Ha ha ha That was a good one! Anyway, I related to Eugenia for I understand what it feels like to come back home after college.

“I’ve been dropped off in a place I do not belong anymore. Certainly not here with Mother and Daddy,…” ― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

I shared the feelings of awkwardness, uncertainty and fear that the coming back situation brings.

“What if I’m stuck. Here. Forever.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Her relationship to Stuart is relatable too.

“Stuart stands and says, ‘Come here,’ and he’s on my side of the room in one stride and he claps my hands to his hips and kisses my mouth like I am the drink he’s been dying for all day and I’ve heard girls say it’s like melting, that feeling. But I think it’s like rising, growing even taller and seeing sights over a hedge, colors you’ve never seen before.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

“Stuart needs “space” and “time,” as if this were physics and not a human relationship.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Poor girl, she went through too many ups and downs. You can say that in one relationship, she learned what you learn in two or more relationships.

I liked her because she didn’t get sucked into the whole “get married and have kids to be someone” trap her “friends” fell on. She fought hard against society’s rules and got herself busy writing that book, to build a different future for her. She worked for the future she deserved.

You also bond sentimentally to Aibileen. At least for me, her loving relationship with Mae Mobley got my heart. Although coming to think about it, it was Mae Mobley who captivated me. You fall in love with that chubby little girl. I can’t deny that I shed a little tear in the end, (when she had to say goodbye to Aibileen). But that was the only moment I cried.

The other character you end up liking is Celia. I didn’t understand how she was relevant to the story at first, but in the end, you feel for the woman and her struggle to fit in. Coming to think of it, all the women in this book were struggling to fit in, be it their circumstances, environment, society, family, etc.

And now the cons. What I didn’t like as much was how they portrayed the women the Help  worked for, as empty, mean ladies. Of course there are stories of good, kind employers but most of the criticism is made at how the Help raise kids that grow up to forget their manners and lose the respect for those who changed their diapers and raised them. If you really think about it, in the end it is the Help’s fault that these kids grow up to be meanies. It’s clear, if you see how Skeeter and Hilly were brought up. Skeeter had a good nanny, Constantine, and she grew up to be a perfectly fine, kind and respectful to the Help woman. Hilly must’ve had a not so great nanny, for she had no respect for the Help whatsoever. I know this is a little controversial, and other things come to play here but if you look at it, from this point of view, you might agree with me.

The other thing I didn’t like was how they show that the Help has the right to “laugh” at their employers. The book criticizes the fact that employers are mean to the help, but portray that it is acceptable for the Help to make fun of their employers because of that. I grew up with help, not nannies or permanent help but over the years, mom has hired good women to help her for some periods of time with some of the household chores (mostly cleaning and ironing). We’ve always treated our help with dignity, respect, thankfulness and love. Even though they are paid to do their job, we’ve always been grateful for the help they’ve brought to our household and we’ve always been there for them in their times of need, whenever they allowed us to help them in return. Kindness is paid with kindness so to speak.

“…that’s what I want them to know. Saying thank you, when you really mean it, when you remember what someone done for you”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

To think of the possibility that once they got home they could’ve laughed at us because they are entitled to, gives me an awkward feeling. Sure, the Help are in our homes to help us, but employers also help them by giving them a job to earn their money in an honest, honorable way. Again, a controversial point in this book. I didn’t find Minny’s pie as a fun thing to read. No matter how much people humiliate you, to even consider revenge with a pie like that one, is unacceptable for me. Revenge in whatever form is unacceptable. Where’s your dignity and principles?

“All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

And that is what I take from the help. Lessons of kindness, thankfulness, respect, fraternity, parenting and love. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re less, whatever your life situation is.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help


NewWords Button by Bloggeretterized

  • tithing: To contribute or pay a tenth part of (one’s annual income).
  • kvetch: To complain persistently and whiningly. (slang)
  • lollygagging: To waste time by puttering aimlessly; dawdle.

All definitions by TheFreeDictionary.com

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The Help

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I was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review this book. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This post contains affiliate links as stated in my disclosure policy.