As soon as my sister came home with the film ‘The Help,’ I quickly snapped up the book to read and asked her to wait a few days to watch it while I ploughed through its pages. For me it always helps if I read the book before hand. I like to read the story and then watch the way it has been developed after in the film! I think there’s a bit of a debate about this so if I counts for anything I am a reader then a watcher! But here it is my book review of The Help.
This book is a brilliant, easy read with lilting description and an engaging tone. The book is a steady read with flashes of humour and wit that keep the novel enthralling throughout. The Help is set in the Jim Crow South where segregation is the way of life. The story is told with three principal narrators. Firstly, Skeeter Phelan, a college graduate who is disgusted by the racial discrimination surrounding her, especially in the homes of her childhood friends. Secondly AibileenClark, an African-American nanny with a genuine love for the children she looks after. And finally my favourite, Minnie Jackson, a sassy character with five children of her own, battling a drunken and abusive husband but still maintaining to manage her home and work. Her warm heart and fiery character adds strength and character to the narrative.
The book revolve primarily around Skeeter’s want to publish a book on the lives and the work of the community of the black maids. Like many children Skeeter was also raised by a black maid named Constantine, however she had to leave after years of suspicion and a lack of trust due only to the colour of her skin and this pushes Skeeter to find out the truth and tell the real story. The unlikely friendship between the three women continues to grow as the progress of the book continues to develop, however the friendship could prove deadly for anyone of them in a time of segregation and isolation. Although the book focuses on the racism seen, it is not a determined critique delving into the politics of racism. However there are mentions of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. This does not draw away from the authenticity and beauty of the story and although it is not hard massively hitting upon the facts and figures of racial segregation during this time it is genuine and factual, seen for example in the way the coloured maids are expected to use an outdoor toilet.
The heart of this book is in its storytelling. The entire book is based on the sharing of a story between people and it is beautifully written. The voices of the black maids and the descriptions of their personalities and characters are graceful and beautifully structured with hints of humour and defiance. I couldn’t help but be enthralled by this heartfelt book and honestly I was often extremely moved by the emotion that was carefully woven into the pages. I loved it and it is definitely worth a read! book review, Stockett,