Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review Wednesday: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I read the first half of this book and listened to the second half on audio. I liked the parts I read much better. At first, it was a little hard to get into since it's written in dialect. But once I got into it, I really enjoyed reading it. When I listened to it, I just wanted to get it over with, so I'm not sure if I didn't like the reader of if the book just lost my interest.

I thought it was a good exploration of the relationships between women, both the supportive side and the cattiness. I've heard that a lot of people are angry about a white author trying to capture the voice of black women, or they say the book is stereotyped, or that it glosses over a horrible situation. I didn't really feel that way at all. I think it portrays black people in a very positive light, but I never had a maid or knew anyone who did, black or white, so I can't really say if the book is accurate or not. And it certainly does not gloss over racism and give us a happy Mammie figure. I liked all the characters in the book, although Skeeter's parts were somewhat dull compared to the others.

I also didn't know much about the maid culture of Southern families before civil rights, so that was interesting. I'd heard of rich white families having black wet nurses during slavery, but I didn't know so many maids raised white children even in the 1950's and 60's. So the historical aspect of the book interested me.

I liked that this book, unlike so many in women's literature, did not focus on romance. I'd recommend to anyone sick of reading romance novels disguised as something else, and for pretty much all women in general. A good modern historical fiction book.

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