Friday, January 7, 2011

FRIDAY: The Help


I read this on the recommendation of some friends from church. I mentioned it here back in December when I was first considering reading it.  It isn't the sort of book I usually pick up, but I tried it based on these recommendations.

The book takes place in the early to mid 1960s in the south, when the Civil Rights Movement was starting to build some traction, but blacks were still marginalized in many places. The main characters in this story are two black housekeepers/nannies and one white young woman who has grown up in the southern culture of white homeowners and black help.

The young woman longs to write and to make a difference in the world. She is bothered by some of the things she sees and hears in her circle of friends and in her community - and she is bothered by the disappearance of the housekeeper who essentially raised her.


Extremely well written story. The characters are engaging - I cared about what happened to them from the beginning (something I have been struggling with in other books lately) and they stuck with me after I finished their story.  Because of the time line and the subject matter, this isn't a "happy ending" sort of book. One of my friends described the ending, though, as "satisfying," and I agree with that. As someone who grew up in the north and after this period in our nation's history, it was an enlightening story, too. Some of my friends have talked to their parents about the reality of the things described in the story.

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: book clubs, fans of "literary" fiction or fiction with a basis in history, stories about the relationships between women

Cautions: There is at least one fairly disturbing scene with a woman who has had a miscarriage, and another story that is pretty gross about a "special" pie.

[I am an Amazon Associate. If you link to Amazon from one of my blogs and buy something, I receive a small portion of the purchase price.]

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