The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Berkley Publishing Group – June 2011
Source: I own it
My Thoughts: Wow! This is a powerhouse book, it is filled with so much that I am struggling with where I should begin. For those of you who have not read the book, I don’t want to talk about something in particular. But for those who have, I have a few thoughts: really? How? She so deserved it! Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way I can move on. What better book to read for multicultural month? (Yes, officially February is Black History Month, but I personally wanted to celebrate all of the cultures that we will find in this country. While I didn’t get through all of the books that I wanted to for this month, I will be repeating this theme.) I love the fact that in the end, the one person that can destroy the trio if the secret ever comes out is also the one person that can protect their secret-not because she has grown as character or something deeply moving as that. She has an even bigger secret to keep, and the only way to protect her is to protect them. I bet she found that slice of pride even more difficult to swallow.
The time period of this book is one that is often difficult to discuss, those who feel bitter and enraged at the atrocities and injustices that occurred and those who want to repair the damage still have not been able to meet in the middle to acknowledge and then move on. It was a time of change and a test of spirit. Not only for the black people that was living at this time but for the white person as well. What people don’t want to acknowledge is the struggle that happened in the white community during the civil rights movement. But what is shown in the book, is that there was a whole lot of ignorance and a whole lot of let’s not change things-out of fear of change. We needed all the Skeeters, Lou Annes, Minnys, Abileens, etc... to make the tide of civil rights turn for the better. I don’t know if anyone has ever thought of what the United States would have been like, if it was only the black people that wanted change to come. No one I know has even breathed those words out loud. But honestly, where would we be?
Moving on to the actual book . . . the writing was superb! I was engrossed in the story immediately. If it wasn’t for school assignments and work that had to be done, I would have finished this book days ago. Though, I had to put it down to tend to other things, I regretted doing so and even tried to read while doing something else (didn’t work out too well). I don’t think I have found that I despise as much as Hilly, and though it meant losing everything I am glad that Skeeter was the one who broke free of Hilly’s stranglehold. Minny, what can I say about her that will make you understand just how wonderful she is? If I had to choose a personality to have and live in that time I would definitely choose MInny’s. Though flawed, especially in regards to her taste in men, she is feisty and hilarious. She is a thunderous voice to be reckoned with. Abileen is quiet, peaceful and powerful. She is the voice in the child’s head that secretly erases all of the untruths told to them over time. She changes the world by the children she tend to and the example that she sets.
I definitely enjoyed reading this book, even the moment that made me cringe with anger and sadness that there had been real situations that we had to survive. Even the parts of brutality that I still don’t understand. Nothing was glossed over and I really felt as if I was walking along beside the characters during this unstable time. But it didn’t stay focused on that, it focused on the change that was coming to this part of Jackson and all of the people that were involved in creating this change. Yes, the book focused on the three main people that had a big part in it, but change came because of everyone involved in it. Everyone had a role to play then. Everyone has a role to play now.