I just finished reading, The Help by Kathryn Stockett today. I picked up this book after hearing so much hype about it, seeing it on the best-sellers lists and after recommendations from friends as well. This didn’t turn out to be exactly what I expected. Let’s start by saying it took me almost 2 months to finish this book. It usually doesn’t take me that long, but I couldn’t seem to get into it. For me, it wasn’t one of those books I rush to bed to read a bit before I go to sleep; or a book I find myself skipping my favorite TV shows to get some reading time in. Instead, I would have free time and think of other things to do instead of trying to finish the book. I found it a bit slow, but still interesting. I think that if they would’ve made the book about 100 pages shorter, I might have liked it a bit more. I found that a lot of what was going on was a bit repetitive in the first section of the book.
However, after I reached about page 250 the book seemed to pick up for me. I couldn’t put it down. Everything tied in perfectly. My favorite character was Skeeter. Not only because she was a writer, but because she was so determined and didn’t care what anyone thought along the way. If she made enemies or didn’t live up to people’s expectations, she was ok with that. She was after her own happiness and goals. She didn’t care if she didn’t meet her family’s requirements of meeting a man in college, she came out with something better – an education. She was the go-getter among all the Southern girls. The only one who seemed to try to have a real job, even if her family was also well off. She didn’t fall for the fluff and material things. She stood for what she believed in, whether it meant losing love, falling in love, gaining respect, finding herself, and caring for her family.
Aibileen and Skeeter’s friendship was also heart-warming. It was a connection that went beyond race, work, fear or laws. They really seemed to care and understand each other. I can’t wait to see how this book translates to the big screen. The movie version will hit theaters on August 10th.
I was a little disappointed because I feel that some of the story lines didn’t really come to a complete end. What happened to Skeeter’s mom? How about Minny? The way it ended at the end, I found incomplete. What was Aibileen’s ending? For as long as the book was, I feel like they could’ve cut off a few chapters in the beginning and given us an extra chapter or two to answer all these questions I feel weren’t completely closed. It gave a slight hint at the end, but it seemed like a loose end to me.
However, I think the book was a good read. I’ll give it 4 stars if I may. I think it sheds light on a topic that isn’t often discussed outside the classroom. It gives us an idea of how everyday life was for the help of wealthy white families. Some of the stories that tied in to the book, I really couldn’t believe. Growing up you know it was tough for African American’s in the late 50s and early 60s but I didn’t think it was so harsh for the ones who were in the same house with the white families. I think the book serves as a great starting point for the discussion whether in your book club, group of friends or in the classroom.
Here’s the trailer for the movie. I can’t wait to see this story unfold on the big screen.
What do you think? If you read the book feel free to weigh in. But try not to give away too much. We don’t want to have any spoilers for those who might want to read it next.