The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Blog Post part 1

For my second IR book this semester I chose The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book has been recommended to me many times so I decided to check it out.

I’m very happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed! It comes from the perspective of three women: Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen. I enjoyed reading the chapters from different perspectives, as each of the different characters had their own distinct voice. They all lead their own separate lives, but are connected to each other by their involvement in the creation of a book of interviews about the hired help in Mississippi. Because of the multiple different stories and perspectives in this book, the plot is very interesting and never really slows down too much.

Being set in early 1960s Mississippi, there are still a lot of racial tensions and prejudice. The book is largely focused on this and how it affects the main characters. Miss Skeeter is a white woman who aspires to be a journalist. She wants to write a piece (as mentioned before) about what life is like for the African American help. Aibileen, and later Minny, who are both African American women who work for white families, agree to let her interview them. This is when the three characters’ stories start to get more linked as they all get fully involved in the writing of the book.

This book is a bit like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The settings are similar, and characters in both books have to deal with racial injustices and violence towards African Americans. The book To Kill a Mockingbird is actually mentioned quite a few times in The Help.

Overall, I am looking forward to reading the second half of this book and finding out what is going to happen to the book of interviews and the characters.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Help by Kathryn Stockett

  1. Anastasia Rozanova

    Blog Post part 2
    The pace starts to pick up a bit more in the second part of The Help. At first the three women are desperate for more people to join them in writing their book, for they need at least twelve people to participate. When they do get enough people telling their stories, their situation gets massively more dangerous for them. They have to go to more drastic and risky methods to keep their book a secret.

    One of the characters, Minny, also suffers from physical abuse from her husband. Her narration starts to focus on this a bit more and the difficult decisions she has to make when her husband gets more violent. In the end of the book, Minny is finally able to break free from her abusive husband when she moves away with her kids.

    Minny’s relationship with the woman she works for, Cecilia, changes as they develop a sort of bond, especially after together they defend themselves from an aggressive man that was threatening them. Skeeter and Aibileen are also collaborating and trusting each other more as they become more invested in the book. For Skeeter, who is being shunned by her whole town, Aibileen is her only friend.

    The book, which is named Help, finally becomes published, despite incredible time pressure, and becomes pretty successful. The women of their town, however, start suspecting that the book is about them, which causes trouble for those involved in the interviews. However, the book ends on a hopeful note. Skeeter gets a new job in New York and Aibileen plans to start a new life.
    Overall, this was an amazing read. I would recommend this book to anyone who can’t figure out what book they want to read next!

  2. alexandrastearns2124

    I have been thinking of reading this book for a while, but I wasn’t sure if the plot would be engaging enough for my taste. I have read a little bit about the plot of The Help, and I also thought that it was very similar to To Kill a Mockingbird. I really like it in novels when the different lives of all of the characters come together, and I think that this is one of the themes of this book. People coming together even though they are being oppressed is very powerful, and their perspective will be shared with the world with cooperation.

    This book seems very accurate to what happened in real life during the 1960’s in the south. Although some parts of the novel seem hard to read, such as Minny being physically abused and all of the racism, it is important that we learn about the terrible parts of our history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes we have already made.

    I’m glad that you wrote a very positive review, and you may have just convinced me to read this book.

  3. margaretkang

    I’ve been considering reading this book and your review may have sealed the deal. I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird so if this book is similar, I believe there is a higher chance of me being interested in it. I like seeing characters come together despite their differences so I feel this will suit my tastes well.

    Being based on real history, I think it will be intriguing to read how the author perceives the time and people. Though this book contains some sensitive material, it’s nothing I’m too unfamiliar with.

    Seeing your review, I’ll most likely check out this book when I get the chance.

  4. clarkjones1

    While I have never read the book, I have heard of The Help for a long time. Growing up in a household of two older sisters I often hear book discussions. One book that caught my eye was The Help because of the historical context and strong themes. Noting your recognition of the similarities between To Kill A Mockingbird, I wonder if it takes a different approach to tackle injustices. While in TKAM the racism is observed by a nine-year-old, your mentioning of the three narrators makes it seem as if the conflict is upfront and personal with the protagonists. Dealing with the racial injustices head-on would be very interesting to read about as the power of racism would reach the reader directly.

    I find it funny that the publication of the book became a large deal in Stockett’s hometown. It’s amusing that many women felt that the story aligned with their lives and complained. I wonder if their denial for interviews signalizes that they were cruel and/or racist to others around them. I appreciate that small note and it acts as another small incentive to read the novel.

    Overall, I’ve always stalled reading The Help due to time constraints, other books, or simply taking the time to borrow it from the library. Thank you for your blog review as I will now try to crack down on obtaining the book soon…

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