Monday, March 18, 2024

The Help

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My mom has been pushing this book on me since 2010 and my wife is listening to the audiobook so I finally gave in. Yeah, fine, it was great...

There were many reasons I didn't want to read this. No crime, no monsters, no limbs being hack off, etc. Well, instead of cosmic horror, this book portrays the everyday horrors of racism in the early 1960s. The leads all seemed real to me. Skeeter, the plain and tall girl, and maids Aibileen and Minny practically reached out from the page.

I was skeptical about the entire affair at first. Would a white woman be able to accurately portray the plight of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s? Well, Kathryn Stockett more than stuck the landing. She paints a vivid portrait of what life would have been like for maids of color back then, wrapped in the plot of a white girl writing a book. Things got a little meta for Kathryn Stockett, I expect.

The relationships between Aibilene and Mae Mobley and Minny and Celia Foote were my favorite parts of the book and really sold it for me. Just because there was a minimum of physical jeopardy, the emotional jeopardy was ratcheted up countless times. Would Skeeter get enough people to produce a book? What would happen to Aibilene, Minny, and the other maids if someone caught wind of what Skeeter was doing? What if that c-word Hilly Holbrook figured out what was what?

My wife and I finished the book together in the car after taking our son to the gym. My wife had to use the Dairy Queen bathroom to freshen up after some tearful parts near the end.

Five out of five. I'm still not reading James Patterson no matter how many decades my mom pushes him on me, though.

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