I recently finished reading The Help, and that book has CHANGED me! Seriously, I frigging loved it. Much more than I expected. So I thought I’d write a little review for it.
Here’s a bit about it, if somehow, like me, you haven’t read or seen this book even though it’s almost 2016:
The chapters are in 3 different narratives, Aibileen, a maid who lost her son a few years back, who is still hurting from her loss whilst raising her seventeenth white child, her best friend Minny, a maid who is constantly at risk of losing her job for sassing her boss, and Skeeter, a white girl who moved back from college to find the maid who raised her gone, with no one to give her an explanation.
These three women, over the course of the book, end up becoming more valuable to each other than anyone could have ever predicted.
This book to me was the flip side of Mad Men, even though most describe it as the flip side of Gone with the Wind (I haven’t seen that however). The Draper family have a maid, who is a minor recurring character, and honestly, as minor character, I never gave her much thought. You only ever seemed to see her pick up the phone for another character, or saying hello as Don walked through the door. However, this is a new perspective. I imagine Upstate New York in the 60’s was much more progressive than Jackson, Mississippi but who knows, I don’t live in the USA in the 60’s.
All of these characters feel so incredible real. Kathryn Stockett really painted a picture, I felt as if I was transported to Jackson in the 60’s, everything was so vivid and believable. I have no idea how she managed to craft such an elegant story that resonated so well with me, and obviously thousands of other’s considering what a hit the book is.
Reading this most felt like a lesson in history. My history knowledge is pretty damn poor, I opted to stop studying history when I was 14, but now I find it so fascinating. Through this, I was given a different perspective on marginalisation and racism. I try to educate myself on discrimination as much as I can, as I, a white cis male born into a first world country, am not the target of this. The thing I have been abused on the most is my hair colour.
I felt so hurt when the characters did, and when they feared for themselves. For so many people this was real, and it still in 2015 is a reality for so many.
The relevance of this book in all times cannot be understated.
I am yet to watch the film adaptation, though I promised my mum the next time I’m home for a few days, we’ll watch it, since it’s on Netflix now! The casting seems amazing, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain all fit the bill for their characters. Plus have you watched How to Get Away with Murder?! Viola Davis is freaking amazing. HTGAWM season 1 is on Netflix, go watch it now and don’t look back.
This quote really resonated with me, it turns out it’s also one of the author’s favourite quotes:
‘We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.’
We are all quick to see the differences between ourselves and others, distancing ourselves. When maybe that isn’t the best course of action.
This book is one everyone should read. I don’t cry much, but I cried twice reading this. I closed this book, and I didn’t have my usual ‘satisfied’ book finishing feeling. I felt so fulfilled, I felt enlightened, and felt like some sort of weight was lifted. I have no clue why, but it seems this book enriched me and gave me something I can’t put into words. I think that’s the most you can ask for out of a book.
Buy it here:
It’s cheapest on Amazon, but unless you spend over £20 or have Prime shipping will cost you, so opt for the slightly more expensive Book Depository instead. Plus you get a free bookmark, if they still do that.
Thanks for reading!