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 The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)

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PostSubject: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)   Sat 11 Apr 2009, 3:59 pm

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)



Brief description of the novel:

"Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t."
--- www.amazon.com

Let me know if you guys would like me to post some questions for discussion. I'm happy to do so.

Carolyn
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Sondrage1102

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PostSubject: My dyslexic brain   Fri 22 May 2009, 2:46 pm

I am starting this one today. It is big for an add-on for my little dyslexic brain, but I am giving it a go...
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PostSubject: Re: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)   Fri 22 May 2009, 6:21 pm

Well, the good news is it's not complex writing at all ... good luck!
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Dorothy

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PostSubject: The Help by Kathryn Stockett   Thu 28 May 2009, 7:59 am

Yes I would like to read this book for open discussion. I am waiting for it from the library-will start reading it as soon as I get it.
Dorothy
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PostSubject: Re: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)   Sun 31 May 2009, 8:44 am

I got an early start on this one on vacation. I really enjoyed this book. I almost finished it in one day. It was a topic I hadn't read much about and found it disturbing but interesting. I loved the characters. The transitions from one point of view to another were well done.

4 1/2 stars
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PostSubject: Re: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (c. 2009)   Wed 03 Jun 2009, 7:06 am

Okay, I'm going to tentatively put my review out there. I reviewed this book a while ago (April) for Amazon and LibraryThing and while some people absolutely got where I was coming from, I got pretty much eviscerated by a couple people for my opinion. That said, I still feel the same way! I still thought the book had tons of merit and would make for lively discussion(s), which is why I thought it a good "add on" novel for our club. Plus, out of close to 400 people on Amazon, most just RAVE about it!

Review of The Help by Katheryn Stockett (c. 2009)

I thought this novel was "okay" but incredibly overrated. The parallels to Harper Lee and her progeny are very misplaced. This book is by no means a masterpiece ~ just takes on a very important subject. The story/plot/concept is interesting and I believe, a part of history not oft told but important and timely (African American maids and the white families they work for in burgeoning civil war era Jackson, Mississippi), although it surely could have been edited down quite a bit ~ it dragged in spots. I thought the writing was simply mediocre and a lot of the plot development cliche and formulaic. However, Minny and Aibileen were great ladies, sweet, sassy, sad just made the book move along well. I guess part of this book was that I just did not feel Stockett was the person to tell these stories and maybe that isn't quite fair. She gave it her best shot to write about people whom she really did not know that well (meaning, she never took the time to sit and talk with them like the protagonist actually does, to know their feelings). I often felt like she was guessing at the maids' feelings, thoughts and ideas about the time, their lives and their employment. It just rang false so often like, c'mon, they had to feel a WHOLE lot more angry than that, surely. It was interesting at the end of the novel (titled "too little, too late") that the author felt this way herself at times. I kept thinking how shallow and goofy it was in spots though, and it took away from really getting into and believing in the story. But fiction is, alas, fiction, and those are the tools to make it entertaining. Lastly, my biggest complaint is that ALL of the white people were cartoon-like buffoons. Either they were so daft as to not see the racism/hatred in front of them, viciously mean/racist, insane or lastly, Miss Skeeter, who clearly is the author as protagonist (and awkard young woman just learning how cretinous her high society "friends" are). But who knows, I did not live in Mississippi in the 60s, and the author (and her ancestors) did, so perhaps those were the people she knew. Anyway, I did not much care for "The Help" but due to its subject matter, I'm sure it'll be around for a while and likely be made into a film (likely a made for TV movie).

2.5 out of 5 stars

Carolyn
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Nicole

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PostSubject: The Help   Sat 04 Jul 2009, 2:45 pm

Although I agree with most of Carolyn's review, I did enjoy this read.
It is very hard for me to evaluate the fictional environment described in the book. I can personally attest to the actual different cultural atmosphere of Missisippi in the early 90s. The racial divide of rural Missisippi was real and frightening. I agree the author was a step away from caricatures (both white and black), and I wished she had presented more in depth characters.
Carolyn: Great review.
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PostSubject: The Help by Kathryn Stockett   Tue 28 Jul 2009, 5:49 pm

Finally got this book from the library after being 9th in line. I enjoyed it very much. I liked the characters and the story. I realize the it wasn't any great literary acheivment but it was a couldn't put it down book for me. I think I saw a little deeper in the characters then maybe I should of for a fiction novel. I really would like to see other reviews of this book if anyone else has read it. I think it is a great book for discussion, for or against.
I give it 5 stars.
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