Friday, November 27, 2009

The Help

Last night I read and read and finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a novel that takes place in 1960's Mississippi and the women in the town, the black and the white. While all Skeeter's friends are planning Jr League functions and counting their silver, she is interviewing the women who work as maids for these women. The more Miss Skeeter learns, the less she likes her friends and the more she becomes ostracized. As much as I loved the book, I would have liked to have seen it go a little more in depth. I feel like I would have liked to know more about Miss Celia, the rural poor girl who marries well but still can't fit into Jackson society. I would have liked to know if Elizabeth ever stands up to Hilly. I'd like to know what Aibeleen does, and how Mae Mobley grows up (though I don't think that one can or should be answered in the book).

Though not every aspect was satisfying to me, overall the book left an impact on me - proof is I made my husband put his down and listen to me recount the whole thing for him - he even looked interested.

A great conversation takes place between two of the maids - Aibeleen and Minny. They are talking about the lines drawn between people, and not just between black and white. There are lines between Celia and the Jackson women, there are lines between Minny and her husband. But who draws these lines? Who keeps them in place? Can anyone erase them? It's a touching, eye opening conversation, not only to the women having it, but also to the reader.

As someone who grew up in the South, though not a small town like Jackson, MS and not during the 60's, the book had a personal draw to me. I love what Kathryn Stockett says in the end bit she wrote - in summation - the South is like your mother, only you have the right to talk bad about her but when someone else does - watch out!

I look forward to my book club night about The Help.
Now back to An Echo in the Bone to see what else Jaime and Claire are up to...

1 comment:

Mary said...

If you loved The Help, you might like Americans in Space, a novel just released at St. Martin's Press by ... me! Why? For starters, it is the story of a woman with two kids and a loving husband. But then the husband dies. Here's what the reviewers are saying:Americans in Space (An Indie Next “Great Read” for November)
Posted by Ross on November 16th, 2009 10:10 pm
Mary E. Mitchell’s new novel, Americans in Space, was just released by St. Martin’s Press. (This is her second novel after Starting Out Sideways, which was released in 2007.)

Kirkus Reviews writes that Americans in Space “arrestingly depicts a family consumed by grief,” suggesting that its readers “[g]et out the tissues, but plan on reading this impressive, stirring novel straight through.”

Library Journal, in a starred review, renders its verdict that “Mitchell pitches life’s hardball themes of death, grief, and redemption with piercing clarity and magically interlaces romance and humor into her family saga. Highly recommended for contemporary fiction readers.”

Booklist says “Mitchell captures the mother-daughter angst to perfection, and Kate’s struggle to get on with her life with a frank and empathetic lens.”

And, in choosing it as an Indie Next selection for this month, the ABA reviewer writes that “Americans in Space will speak to all readers, especially to parents of teens.”

The book is a sleeper, but is available everywhere. And you can read the first chapter online at www.maryemitchell.com.