Patty (woodycakes) wrote,

Page Turner: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Write On [Goodreads]
I remember first hearing about this book a year or so ago from say_i_am_you and her mentioning it was some best seller. I'll admit I wasn't that interested in it despite it's best seller status. That was until they mentioned that Emma Stone was cast in the film adaptation and suddenly I got ten times more interested.

So for the Kris Kringle in our office, I asked for this book last Christmas and finally read it this year and of course, the easy-to-please me enjoyed it and found it quite the interesting book. Sure, it's not my usual cup of tea, but this is me trying to expand~ the horizons of my bookshelf. Not that this book is very far from the usual but still, a bit further.

Let's start off by saying that I'm not here to do a social commentary on the segregation or rights and all that, but just how I enjoyed the book. I get times were different back then and the US has gone a long way since slavery and whatnot, so I'll leave the serious commentary to those who can actually articulate their thoughts better. Instead, I'll focus on what I do best: squeeing.
What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn's new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. [Amazon]
I'm a little excited to see how they bring this one to life what with all the different point of views in each chapter. I really enjoyed things from Minny's point of view just because she was so blunt and honest about everything. Skeeter's point of view was also fun just because we got to see her dating. And though Abileen was a tad more serious than the rest, it was needed to sober me up from all my misplaced giddiness.

I get this book wasn't really about Skeeter's love life but of course, as with every book I read, I totally zone in on the romance aspect of it. So when Stuart comes into the picture, I'm totally hoping that she ends up with him. Of course, this isn't necessarily the most important thing in the story, but it still makes me sad that they don't quite get the happily ever after I wanted for her with Stuart.

Call me silly but everytime Stuart would come home to visit her or take her out on dates or just in general want to be with Skeeter, it sort of gave me hope. Stuart seemed like such a catch and all and it made me happy to see he'd be interested in someone like Skeeter, who wasn't quite the epitome of what a proper lady should be back then.

But of course, since the point of this story for Skeeter was to find herself anyway and find her voice, then it doesn't quite matter whether she bags the boy. In my totally messed up universe though, I would have preferred a nice little romantic closure for Skeeter and Stuart. Especially when I saw that Chris Lowell would be playing him in the movie. I wonder if the movie will take a creative license and change it. I wonder how that would go with hardcore fans of the book.

I also really liked Skeeter's relationship with her mom. Half the time, i was so worried about her mom's health and if her sickness would worsen and throw another plot kink in the movie, so I'm glad to find out that at least things worked out okay for Skeeter's mom or as okay as it was going to get.

As for Abileen, it makes me happy that she's able to finally get her voice out there. She reminds me a lot of my mom, with her writing everything down. My mom writes EVERYTHING down. Be it instructions or recipes or a process or anything so I understand why Abileen would write her part out and as sad as it was to read all about the things she had to go through, I'm glad she found the strength to just put it out there.

And no, I don't hate Hilly or Elizabeth or any of the others. They literally just don't know any better, for me at least, and I appreciate how the book sort of tried to show where they were coming from and not caricature-ize them too much. In fact, I found myself wanting to really just talk to these girls and get into their heads and figure out why they were how they were.

I particularly enjoyed Celia Foote, our little outsider and how she formed a special bond with Minny. I'm glad someone was nice to them even if it was for the wrong reasons. Somehow, she's an underdog I didn't mind rooting for. Plus Jessica Chastain plays her in the movie and I'm excited to see how Jessica would be with her since she's getting lots of buzz in general.

In the end, I'm just glad that Skeeter, Minny and Abileen were able to pull off what they had set out to do, considering how 'dangerous' it was to speak out back then. Everytime I'd read about them doing something illegal, I'd get scared and would literally tell them to stop what they're doing, but I guess nothing ever changes if you don't defy or question the rules.

Over-all, I enjoyed the book without even taking into consideration the political aspect or how it affected history and all. Stockett did a good job of making it enjoyable even for someone who doesn't have first-hand experience with the cause. Here's to hoping the movie version is just as entertaining.

And on a different note, I have to commend the movie marketing team for promoting the hell out of this on the Kindle. My Kindle is the one with ads in it and everytime I put my Kindle on hibernate, out comes an "The Help" movie poster. I'm guessing they're trying to target those who have read it or at least wanted to read it. Bravo, kids.

Even More Page Turner:
One Day by David Nicholls
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Tags: books, emma stone
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