Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Historical fiction, Race, Strong women
Dates read: 21st March – 2nd April 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
5th sentence, 74th page: Some dormant instinct tells me to smile, run my hand through my hair.
Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…
There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the heart caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary stroy to tell…
The Help is one of my absolute favourite movies. Not only does it star some of my favourite actors, it’s an amazing story. Filled with just the right amount of humour to top the sad parts from being too sad, but also a great message throughout. So I bought the book. And I really wasn’t sure whether it would be all that great – after all, sometimes if the movie is that good, the book isn’t, and vice versa. But, I am pleased to report. I was wrong!
Once I really got my teeth into this novel, I seriously couldn’t put it down. Not only is it phenomenally amazing, but, even though I know how it’s going to end… I STILL couldn’t put it down. Because what if I was wrong? What if it was something different to what I saw in the movie? There were all the key moments, but so many extras in the book… I couldn’t stop just wondering what would happen next!
One of the great improvements of this novel is the romance between Stuart and Skeeter. It’s a little more tragic when they have differences they can’t get over and eventually end their relationship. You feel a little sorry for Skeeter in the movie, but it’s more of a blip in the greater storyline. Yet, in the book… you actually think that there may be a chance for them. And you hope again and again. Which of course makes the come down and the break up all that much worse. Same with Skeeter’s relationships with Hilly and Elizabeth in the book – you actually feel incredibly sorry for her as all of her relationships dissolve and the consequences of her actions are so much more serious.
I absolutely adored this book. And it’s definitely going into my “reread me” pile. Yet, what I loved most about this whole story was how seriously racial relations are dealt with. How it’s not all about hate or love. Not simple. There is such an intense complexity to all of these relationships that makes you think about the relationships in your own life. Whatever shape or form they are in, the message I got from this book is that we are all people, and in particular, all women, and we don’t know each other’s stories. So maybe we should just give each other a break every once in a while?