Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Help

The Help The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I almost didn't finish this book because it was due at the library today and I still had 300 pages to read. It'll only end up being a day late, and it was definitely worth the fine!

Stockett uses the narratives of two colored maids and a white woman living in the 1960's to tell the stories of "the help." Each character is written in her own dialect and at first I found it slightly difficult to follow at times, but then I heard each character's voice in my head, and it all fell into place.

It's no secret America suffered from narrow minds and segregation. I am fortunate enough to be born after the Civil Rights Movement, but Stockett took me back to the 1960's and helped me get a glimpse at what it could have been like for individuals of the time. (I say could, because no one ever knows for sure what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes). Every neighborhood has an outspoken/opinionated leader, someone who doesn't fit in, someone who appears crazy on the outside, someone silently suffering, and the list could go on. Stockett portrayed each and every one of these characters to a degree where I felt I was sitting in the room sharing iced tea with them.

I would love to say that the America of 2010 has left behind the closed-mindedness of segregation, but it hasn't. Yes, African Americans are no longer required to shop at separate grocery stores or go to "colored hospitals," but Americans continue to fight for civil rights. I hope that readers of The Help not only gain an appreciation for how times have changed, but recognize how much America still has yet to accomplish.

I'm ashamed to admit I don't remember much from Uncle Tom's Cabin, other than I read it in high school and it portrayed an colored family, but The Help is the next Uncle Tom's Cabin. Every high schooler should be required to read it! (and then make their parents read it too!)

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amybyrd said...

I loved this book as well. I am not one for books on tape, but wonder how this might be performed by several readers. I agree--great high school reading.

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