The Help by Kathryn Stockett


The Help by Kathryn StockettFrom the second I stepped out of the theater after watching The Help, I knew I had to read the book. This was my kind of tear jerking, tear at your heart strings kind of story. I crossed my fingers and hoped that I wouldn’t be disappointed. It does occasionally happen that a movie is better than a book. But I’m here to tell you, I worried over nothing. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, movie or book, is amazing, plain and simple.

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

I was as riveted in the theater as I was turning the pages. The characters are beyond incredible. These people bleed and not just from physical wounds. They bleed with sorrow, pain, anger, hope, all things they’ve kept in side themselves because they couldn’t say a word. Skeeter feels unwanted, she’s not the ideal of how a young girl should look or act, according to her mother. Aibileen is haunted by her son’s tragic death, but continues on, taking care of a little girl, whose mother can’t stand her. Minny, now she’s something else with her sass mouth, no nonsense attitude but she’s as loyal as they come; working for a woman who is clearly steps away from the loony bin. These three women come together in 1962 to write a book based on what it’s really like to be an African American maid in Jackson, Mississippi, which was illegal to do back then. The POV shifts every few chapters between one of these women and they tell their side of what unfolds as they write the book and what happens after. It’s so touching because although this isn’t based on a true story, you know there is a Minny or Aibileen out there in our history. You also know, there are worse stories, no one ever told…just breaks my heart.

The writing in The Help is incredible. One thing that makes me scratch my head and wonder just how Stockett did it and made it smooth and effortless, is that it’s not written in the normal chronological way. Well it is, but flashbacks are right in the middle of what’s happening, instead of being separated or italicized or much of a heads up that you are about to go back in time. You start a scene in the present of the story, then you get a quick memory of something, then it is right back to the present. I found it at times a bit confusing, yet I really liked this technique. It’s sort of how I think at times, haha, from one thing to another, then back again, as if it’s one long thought. She also did a nice job transitioning between points of view; with each flowing nicely into one another. You don’t lose the mystery, in fact it adds to it because there isn’t this spilling of info at every turn. Everything unfolds in due time, at a pace that has your attention to the very last page. You also don’t lose the voice of the character that is doing the talking since these three women are so different from each other.

My only complaint is that I want to know what happens to Minny, Aibileen and Skeeter after the story ends! I don’t see another book coming, but boy I would jump on it the second I could. I want to hear about these women again.

I could barely put The Help down, which was difficult since I read it through a holiday. This is one of those books that makes you stop in your tracks, look around you, and see things with new eyes. Not only do I highly recommend The Help (either the book or the movie), I beg you to read it. It would be a travesty if you didn’t.

About Nikki R 120 Articles
SAHM of 2, happily married bookworm, blogger and aspiring author. If I could read/write all day, every day, I would. Luckily I have a very understanding, and patient, husband who lets me get away with it as much as possible. Now if only the kids would understand my obsession, and the house would clean itself, then I'd be all set.


  1. Going to have to pick this up now! I loved the film too, and sometimes things are better in writing, or equally as good in a completely different way.
    Thank you! :-)

  2. I found The Help difficult to put down too. :) I had some criticisms of it, but that didn’t reduce the eagerness with which I would pick it up again.

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