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939 of 960 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Brilliant
When a book makes you occasionally laugh out loud, has your eyes brimming with tears or has you shouting at the pages through empathy and anger, you know the author has a very rare talent. 'The Help' is one such book. I have not enjoyed a tome so immensely since Michel Faber's 'The Crimson Petal and the White'.
The story is told through three wonderfully real female...
Published on 28 Jun 2009 by Ben Ripley

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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sisters are doing it for themselves
I really enjoyed this book. It's like wearing your favourite slippers and sipping a mug of cocoa. I liked the way the relationships developed between the central female characters. Some of them had real gumption and courage, while others were just plain bitches obsessed with keeping up appearances. It gives you a slice of life in 1960s Mississippi full of hypocrisy and...
Published on 21 Mar 2011 by Mrs. S. Biddulph


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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Wonderful!, 11 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Help (Hardcover)
Wow! As a child watching Gone with the Wind, I always wondered how 'mammy' really felt being a black woman in the deep south, I think this book tries to address this very question. The three main characters in this book are beautifully fleshed out & each very likeable, strong women. This is the civil rights movement from a womans perspective but intelligently told from every angle, rich & poor, black & white, privilaged & margionalised. This is also old fashioned story telling at its best, it is well paced & although it deals with a very serious subject, there is wonderful humour throughout. Roll on the next Kathryn Stockett novel, I'll be first in the que.
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67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sisters are doing it for themselves, 21 Mar 2011
By 
Mrs. S. Biddulph (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It's like wearing your favourite slippers and sipping a mug of cocoa. I liked the way the relationships developed between the central female characters. Some of them had real gumption and courage, while others were just plain bitches obsessed with keeping up appearances. It gives you a slice of life in 1960s Mississippi full of hypocrisy and suffering, yet punctuated with moments of kindness, hope and friendship. It shows women in their best and worst lights. I know the central tennet of the book is based around race, but the story transcends that focussing more on women's hopes and dreams and the constraints they faced. I loved Minny and Abilene, but found Skeeter mildly annoying. Celia was the star, a woman struggling to become a mother, living a lie and desperately trying to fit in. I adored her in all her flawed glory. Mae Mobley is also a triumph, a little girl who stands a chance of breaking the Mississippi mold thanks to her second mama. The book, however, lacks depth - a lot of what happens is only on the surface. It touches on fear, disadvantage and unfairness for the black community, but somehow glosses over it rather than delving down. The villain of the piece, Hilly, is also easy to despise but there is never any explanation about how she became so awful making her less believable.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Classic, 9 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Help (Film Tie-In) (Paperback)
Every forty or fifty years a book comes along that not only makes readers sit up and take notice while at the same time shaking beliefs we've grown up with. That, to me, makes for a book destined to become an American classic.

For a country that prides itself on human equality, and for this reviewer who was brought up in the idealistic North, this book was a revelation that human inequality was alive and well in the 1960s. Although this story is set in the town of Jackson, Mississippi it could very well have been almost any city or town in the South.

Bent on a career as a writer, Skeeter Phelan (white college graduate)applies for an editor's position with a New York firm. Her ambitions and ideals are high. While she awaits a response she goes about her normal routine: bridge club on Wednesdays, Junior League on Thursdays (she's the newsletter editor), church, and the rounds of events at the country club. Like her peers she has little interaction with the help (black maids) of her friends, although she dearly misses the black maid who reared her while her own mother was similarly occupied with social events. In an effort to win her coveted job, Skeeter is advised to submit something she wrote - something of substance about an idea or philosophy that means something to her. The first thing that comes to Skeeter's educated mind is the inequity of the way in which the black maids are treated.

Set against the background of the racial crises of the 1960s and the very real threat of danger to not only Skeeter's life but that of the black maids and their families, Skeeter convinces Aibilene (the maid of one of her friends) to tell her story. When Skeeter's New York connection reads what she has submitted, Skeeter is asked to submit the remainder (Skeeter lies about having a dozen or so more maids to interview). If the New York publisher likes what she reads, she will publish the book.

Over the course of a year, Skeeter eventually gets her story. Along the way we are introduced to two very strong characters in the guise of black maids - Aibilene (cautious and quiet)and her friend Minny (impetuous and mouthy). On the other side of the racial line are Hilly (white, president of the Junior League, and master manipulator) who is married to a political hopeful and Cecilia (white, low-class, born on the wrong side of the tracks) who is married to Hilly's former beau.

In a seamless blending of viewpoints, Ms. Stockett gives us a rounded approach to everyday life in the South during the 1960s: from the blind acceptance of the white women expecting their black maid to do everything from housework to child rearing to the quiet understanding of the black maids that they are not worthy to share even the same bathroom as their employers.

Ms. Stockett's characters are well-rounded and complex. We learn to love (or hate) each of them and sometimes want to reach out and shake one or two.

A thoroughly enjoyable book that is destined to become an American classic. It should be on the reading list of every book club in America. I wish I could give it more than five stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it is, 4 Nov 2011
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Help (Film Tie-In) (Paperback)
"The Help" on which the film is based is a page-turner with its skilful coverage of human resilience and the sowing of the seeds of rebellion as prejudice begins to crack in 1960s Mississippi, told through the viewpoint of two black maids, Aibileen and Minnie, and Skeeter, an idealistic but naive young white woman with ambitions to become a writer.

In the film, a strong cast of actors bring to life the key characters in the book. Aibileen is the narrator, compassionate and shrewd beneath her subservient air, until writing about her experiences as a general dogsbody and nanny for a succession of white children finally releases her into a sense of freedom. Then there is Minnie, a brilliant cook, but unable to hold down a job because of her feisty talk - yet she allows herself to be beaten by her drunken husband. The villain of the piece is the ghastly, control-freak Hilly, who rules her simpering white "friends" with a rod of iron, with the power to destroy the livelihoods of black servants (not merely her own!) who displease her.

The film version of "The Help" is true to the essentials of the original in that it is a chastening reminder of the casual prejudice of the American South as recently as the 1960s, and is often very moving, yet the poignancy is leavened with a good deal of humour. In view of the complexity of the book's plot, it has been necessary to leave out or compress many details - thankfully not the scene of Minnie trying to hoover the dust off a huge stuffed grizzly bear in an old colonial house. These omissions tend to be disappointing if you have read the book before seeing the film. In particular, I would have liked more of the very moving tales which the maids have to tell.

The film finds time to show not just the main theme of the humiliation and unjust treatment of black Americans but also the discrimination against young white women, who are expected to have no ambition above hooking a man. Skeeter is hired by the local newspaper, but only to write a column on cleaning!

I found some of the black maids' dialogues hard to follow, which is a pity as in the book they are often very funny and full of insight.

Perhaps the film's ending is a touch too sentimental and neatly "sown up", some of the subtle depth of the original has been lost, but overall it is worth seeing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the help, 12 July 2010
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
This was a book I didn't want to finish. It is funny, sad and courageous. I thought it was set in the 19th century but no shockingly in the 1960's. I would recommend it as a book club read, there is so much to discuss
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars on my top reads of the year so far, 8 July 2010
By 
S. Mcgregor "donk" (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
I have few words to say about this book that haven't already been said in the many glowing reviews I have read and it is deserving of every word.

Stunning , in just about every sense of the word.

It was a turbulent read for me, a mixture of humour, drama, suspense, jaw- dropping history.

The way it was written from the points of view of the three different characters gave it a balanced feel ... definitely on my best reads this year list.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent and MUST be read by all, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
This is the story of three women, Minny and Aibileen and Miss Skeeter. All three women are fighting their own battles and come together to fight one particular battle that of changing opinion in the mid 1960s. However there is a difference between Miss Skeeter and Minny and Aibileen. Miss Skeeter is white and the other two women are Black maids, employed to look after children and keep houses clean and tidy - but these women are not to be trusted and they could quite easily be stealing the silver and they could also be using the same sanitation facilities as the white women that they look after.

Miss Skeeter crosses into their world when she tries to discover what happened to her family maid Constantine, by putting to paper all the stories of the black maids in the area, and how they are really treated by their white employers. However Miss Skeeter has her own problems, her height has been a disability to finding a suitable husband much to her mother's vexation and without the suitable man on the arm, she finds it difficult to slip back into the life that her friends are all living. Married, husbands, children, weekly bridge meetings, League Meetings (similar to the WI, I imagine) and making sure that everyone follows the correct rules and obeys them to the letter.

Aibileen provides the initial story to Miss Skeeter and to us the reader of the sort of life she has led being a help. The current family The Leefolts have one daughter, Mae Mobley who spends more time with Aibileen then with her mother, who just sees her as a nuisance but a necessity to fit into a particular type of world. Mae Mobley and the subsequent brother which is born during the story rely on Aibileen for everything, and Mae Mobley does not see the difference between colour and does not understand why everyone is set on changing her mind about someone who she obviously treats more as a mother than her own biological one. Children are the innocent ones and can see no wrong in the world; it is the adults which are teaching them their ways be them right and wrong. This comes across very strongly in the book and is definitely the underlying theme throughout. Aibileen gives us an insight into the other maids in the area as she convinces them to tell their stories to Miss Skeeter, putting her own job and livelihood on the line.

Minny is the maid that says too much, think it but do not say it. Minny says it how it is, and despite being kept as a second class citizen this has lost her many jobs. In particular the job she had with Miss Hilly, a friend of Miss Skeeter's. Her new job with Miss Celia sees another world which these Black Maids are working in. What happened when she left Miss Hilly's is hinted upon and becomes finally the core of making sure that all the maids who have given their stories despite their names being changed keep their jobs. Do you want the world to know really what your maid did to you?

There is so much to this book that I could go on quite happily and end up telling you exactly what happens. Needless to say this is a book which must be read, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry as you realise that such prejudice existed less than 60 years previously and that some of the so called 'rules' actually make no sense whatsoever. You may find difficulty in the reading of the book, as Kathryn Stockett's uses very colloquial language in Minny and Aibileen's stories, do not let this put you off, persevere it is so worth it in the end. A must read, in fact an education wrapped up into a wonderful and daring novel. A fantastic debut for Stockett worthy of 5 stars plus.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Help, 23 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
Truly the best book I have read in many many years. I was shocked, moved, involved and in fact when I had finished reading this I felt almost bereaved that i would not know any more about the charecters in the book. I think this should be compulsory reading in schools it is a wonderful story tactfully told but also deeply informative about a time in the the South that I knew little about but at no point is it preachy as both sides are shown as human beings and I felt for some of the white women and for the black women in this. i so want to know where they are now. i am sure this will be a big film soon but please read it before it is spoilt by Hollywood it is truly a great book. More readable than "to kill a mockingbird" better written than any other book of its kind.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant!, 20 May 2010
This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
I was stuck in Faro, Portugal due to the ash clouds. I was annoyed, expecting a long wait and went to the bookshop at the airport. And hey presto - here was this book! I had tried to get it in a shop in the US a couple of weeks previously, but was not successful. And here it was!

I can honestly say, that it was worth all the hassle of queueing for six hours to reschedule the flight, transferring to a hotel, staying stuck for a couple of days and even arriving back in London to a different airport just to get this book in my hands. And I read it in one go, could not put it down.

Simply a brilliant, brilliant read. The topic is fascinating, but the characters were so well drafted and believable, I am now sad that I had finished the book.... I will most definitely buy the next book by this author, can not wait!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 21 May 2013
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This review is from: The Help (Paperback)
I watched the movie first and the book was every bit as good. I would recommend this to everyone. Sad in places.
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