Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Help

The Help The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me a while to adjust to reading the written dialect/accent of Aibilene and Minny, but once I got going, I fell in love with this book. The characters felt like real people--even Hilly wasn't a one-dimensional villain. I was never entirely sure where the story would lead, not even when I guessed a bit of someone's secrets here or there. I had a hard time putting the book down at the end of my lunch breaks because I wanted to find out what happened next.

I kept wanting to put everyone in a room and make them TALK to each other and see how artificial and arbitrary their differences were, founded on ignorance and prejudice. (I especially wanted Minny to talk to Miss Celia.) But then, I was born more than a decade after this book took place and in an entirely different part of the country. I have very little personal experience with racial prejudice. Or domestic help, for that matter! :) I don't know how I would have handled the cruelty and shameful miscarriages of justice. Would I have been brave enough to risk my life to challenge the hateful status quo? It's really amazing to me just how far we've come in a generation. To have improved that much gives me hope that we will be able to continue the progress into--and beyond--the next generation.

For Reader's Advisors: story and character doorways, with setting also pretty important.

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