Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thoughts: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Finally I picked up The Help and it wasn't hard to get through because it's one of those book where you keep turning the pages compulsively although the topic is so heavy. I absolutely wanted to hear what the maids had to say, it only troubles me that Stockett did feel the necessity to rely on a young, white woman, Skeeter, to carry their stories. Because she is the one, who one morning has the idea to give the maids a voice, telling their stories in form of a book and how they are treated by their white, female employers. Every page in the voice of Aibileen or Minny was a treasure, taken away during Skeeter's parts.

When thinking about this book and the rating I wanted to give it, I asked myself a few questions. Is The Help an easy and enjoyable read? Yes. Does The Help imply an interesting and important topic? Yes. Is The Help great literature? No. I think the writing is far from brilliant. That's why I only give it four stars. Stockett introduced characters and never quite understood to use them, most of them remained shallow and didn't add to the story, like Skeeter's boyfriend Stuart, the senator's son, or Miss Lou Ann and her mysterious illness. I wondered why Stockett set plot points like this going nowhere. And why did she create Miss Celia and let her go waste? A tough girl from the country who couldn't even boil water doesn't make sense but a fool of herself. Still I liked her and would have loved to read more about her forming complexity.

I don't see The Help overcome time like To Kill a Mockingbird, but all in all I quite liked it. Four stars.


  1. I have to admit that I picked it up in a book store and read the first few pages and put it back again. I couldn't quite get into the dialect the narrator was using to narrate. Yet, I do read good reviews of it, so one day I will give it a try. Did you read any of the commentary that complained about the depiction of black american women in this book?

  2. I want to read it but all the hype about it has put me off. Now that the hype is dying down I think I'll give it a go :)

  3. I read this for our interracial book club and that made it work for me. Terrific discussion!
    Joy's Book Blog