ELR Book Nerd Club: The Help

(putting on my teacher glasses)

Today we are going to talk about the book, The Help. I think (and hope!) a lot of you have read this book because when I mentioned it before, y’all seemed pretty enthusiastic. I personally loved this book. I read it all in 48 hours while visiting my mom and grandma for mother’s day. Actually, my grandma is the one who recommended the book to me. She had finished it and couldn’t wait for me to start it because she knew I would love it.

So, for those of y’all that read the book, what did you think? Personally, my favorite aspect was the author’s tone throughout. I loved how she took the characters and really nailed down their voices. Once I started reading, I really had a hard time pulling myself away because I just got so sucked into the different story lines.

Who was your favorite character? Mine was definitely Skeeter because I could relate to her the most. I loved how she went against the grain and did exactly what she wanted to do, even though not everyone believed in her. She was just so real to me—she literally jumped right off the page! I also loved the character of Miss Celia. My heart just went out to her the whole time…some of the antics she got herself into almost brought tears to my eyes. She’s like that friend with the horrible outfit that makes your heart just twist.

The only criticism I can think of to give was that I would have liked to go into a little more depth with Skeeter’s relationship. I felt sort of like I was on the surface and wanted to go a little deeper….but I LOVED the way it ended!

Thoughts? Feelings? Love?

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  • Becki @ HikeBikeEat
    June 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I’ll be checking this one out from my library tomorrey and having belated input to your discussions, haha!

  • Erica
    June 27, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I also loved this book (although I despised that it wasn’t paperback because my arms were sore from holding it up while reading in bed… lol). I felt so bad for Miss Celia, and when Minny thought that she had found out Miss Celia had a drinking problem, I was heartbroken. When the truth was revealed I was very relieved! I was shocked (and impressed at the juxtaposition and “realness”) at the fact that strong-willed Minny was being beaten up by her husband. And the way all of the storylines were woven together (Skeeter’s mother having cancer, Aibileen teaching Mae Mobley, and both maids telling their stories to Skeeter) was intricate and amazing; there were a few times while reading that I had to look back and try to remember the link between different parts of the book. I agree that I would have loved to delve a bit deeper into Skeeter’s relationship (when they broke up, I was so upset that they wouldn’t get a chance to be together because of the past), but maybe that would have taken away from the main point of the story? In the end, I think the thing that I enjoyed most about this book was the way it portrayed the ways in which humans interact and how their psyches work. It was so true-to-life and very touching 🙂

    • Kristen
      June 29, 2010 at 5:21 am

      I was disappointed in myself when I was sad that Skeeter’s relationship didn’t work out. He obviously was not the right person for her, and her story didn’t require a happily ever after. And yet, I was bummed! That is the girl in me…and its annoying! I enjoyed this book, but its been sometime since I finished it. I think I thought that it wrapped up a little too neatly in the end.

  • Erica
    June 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    P.S. – I think that the reference to real events that took place during the years of segregation really grounded the book and made the emotions of the characters so much more real; it confirmed for the reader that, although the book was fiction, there were so many people who actually lived through similar situations.

  • Anne @ Food Loving Polar Beara
    June 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    You got me interested, I musty find this book!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    June 28, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I am on chapter 6! I am loving it so far, just wish I had more time to read it.

  • style'n
    June 28, 2010 at 3:42 am

    I have the book on my nightstand but haven’t started it yet. You are motivating me to start reading it!

  • Ann @ Appalachian Appetites
    June 28, 2010 at 4:10 am

    I just started reading the book and can’t put it down! I love the character’s voices as well and I can already tell I am going to enjoy getting to know each of them better. Thanks for starting this post…And I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts as I continue reading 🙂

  • Sarah @This Is It
    June 28, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Wow! This was just recommended to me by a co-worker who is going to give me her copy to read next! I feel like you read my mind!

  • Kelly
    June 28, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Someone recommended this book to me a few months ago and for some reason I couldn’t get into it. However I think it might have been the time or something because SO many people love this book I think I really have to give it another try!

  • Katherine
    June 28, 2010 at 4:48 am

    all I have is love; I have not read the book. I love the cover but always get it confused with “three cups of tea”

  • Sarah
    June 28, 2010 at 4:54 am

    My favorite aspect of the book were the voices as well. Having lived in the south I could “hear” Abilene’s voice right away. She was my favorite character–steadfast, virtuous, strong, brave. I thought her motivation for writing the book seemed legitimate and “real” to me and it was neat to compare her to some of the real life heroes of the civil rights movement and to think that maybe their train of thought and decision to act was similarly inspired and considered. This was the best book I’ve read in a year, maybe 2. If I ever wrote a piece of fiction I hope it would be something this powerful and authentic to the human experience.

  • Sarah
    June 28, 2010 at 4:54 am

    PS my grandmother also recommended it 🙂

  • Kristin T
    June 28, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Aibileen was the character that really grabbed me (among many.. but I digress). The dynamics between that family (with Mae Mobley being dismissed by her mother, Aibileen raising her, the bathroom situation, etc) made for some good nail-biting, heartaching chapters. I thought her courage to be the first to risk everything and speak up to Skeeter was huge – I loved the leadership role she played in the book, both among her own community and in the family she worked for.
    I agree, though, and also loved Skeeter. My mother actually grew up in the south having “help” (who she lovingly refers to as Mabel and still keeps in touch with today) – and while I wasn’t there to witness the dynamic between Mabel and her parents, I know my mom grew up with nothing but love in her heart for that woman. They still keep in touch and write letters. I recommended this book to my mom because I know she would connect with Skeeter as well!

  • Sarah
    June 28, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I loved this book as well. I think that my favorite character, as well, was Skeeter. I really understood and enjoyed the dynamic between her and Hilly and Elizabeth. She was supposed to be friends with these women because they grew up together, but Skeeter’s beliefs and whole mindset was just so much more progressive and leaps beyond them. I also really liked Abilene because she cared about the children she watched, so, so much even though she knew that eventually they would just grow up to view her as a maid, not as they parental figure that raised them.
    I thought this book was so well written, with a great voice like you said, Jenna, but I would have liked the ending to go a bit more in depth. But, maybe I just didn’t want it to end!

  • katie didit
    June 28, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Someone already mentioned it, but I think the real historical events presented in the book are a great addition. ALthough it’s fiction, by incorporating events that happened during that time period made it seem so real. I also could not put the book down and read it in 3 days! I really enjoyed the way that it ended, but it definitely left me wanting “the help part 2,” haha…

  • Tina
    June 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

    It was a good read. I thought it was well written. It took me a bit to get used the dialect, but a couple of chapters in, I was fine. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but I’m glad I read it. And I thought the ‘chocolate pie’ was hilarious and well deserved.

  • Brie @ Brie Fit
    June 28, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I loved this book, but at the end I was a bit bothered because at the end, I felt like Skeeter hadn’t really changed much even after all she’d seen and done and written about. At the beginning of the book, she wants to work for a publisher…and at the end, she gets that. I didn’t really feel like her character had changed and that disappointed me–I guess I wanted her to become some kind of radical activist after all the injustices she’d seen, you know?

  • Beth
    June 28, 2010 at 5:36 am

    I thought that this was a fantastic book! I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and I really don’t know if I can choose a favorite. I agree completely with Erica’s P.S. statement about the actual civil rights events being incorporated in the book-that really just made it feel real.
    I think my favorite part was when Abilene’s church wrapped up a signed copy of the book for her to give to Skeeter and acknowledged that not many would see her book as an accomplishment and they were grateful for the risk that she took to write it.

  • Jennie
    June 28, 2010 at 5:39 am

    I read this book in about a day, as I think I have OCD when it comes to reading. Literally nothing else gets done if I am absorbed in a book. I remember getting up at the end with a tight back from sitting for so long!
    The book grabbed me immediately because I have always felt like a Skeeter. I moved to the South from California (opposite of you) and never understood some people’s penchant for the Confederate flag.
    However, what I was amazed by at the end was how change occurs in society. It is not about the big speeches, assassinations of public figures, or televised events. It is about a black housekeeper teaching a white child how to love, that she is good, and that the color of our skin does not make us any different. It is about how a friendship between a white writer and a black housekeeper changed the way a group of women viewed each other. It is about how our choices shape the people around us and make a difference in society.

  • Kate T
    June 28, 2010 at 5:53 am

    LOVED this book! Also recommended by my grandmother, haha. Anyway, I think it is just a great read because of the 3 tone perspectives in the writing. It made it fun and exciting, not to mention a sweet and interesting story. The character of Minnie might have been my favorite, but I enjoyed them all!

  • megan
    June 28, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I LOVED this book. Thank you so much for recommending it. You’re right, it was so real. The only thing I didn’t like was that I wanted the ending to go more in depth. I guess I wanted it to be less realistic and I wanted Mae Mobley to grow up and be a good person.

    Do you think the chocolate pie part was realistic? I was questioning that for some reason

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    June 28, 2010 at 5:55 am

    It looks like I have another book to add to my reading list. I can’t wait to dig into this one! 🙂

  • Morgan
    June 28, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I loved The Help! I love stories of Southern women, and I loved all of the relationships within the book. The relationships between the girls, with their husbands and children and with their help. I adored Skeeter, and I loved who she became and what she did. Stockett also made me really dislike Miss Hilly, which was of course the point!
    The chocolate pie part has become a little joke between my mom and I. When my dad gets obnoxious (he is a 5 year old boy in the body of a 60 year old man) we joke that we’ll make him a chocolate pie to shut him up!

  • Stacy
    June 28, 2010 at 6:24 am

    I loved this book and my favorite characters were Minny and Mae Mobley. I have to say though that I was disappointed by the end. I was just hoping that they would have gone into more detail about their futures, especially Skeeter’s love life. I guess I am a sap that way. Maybe the author left it so open-ended to make way for a sequel!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    June 28, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Somehow I missed out on this book! But I’ll pick it up next week. Better late then never. 😉

    (p.s. thanks for some great book recommendations! I’ve been reading nonstop off of your recommended reading list :mrgreen: )

  • ShutupandRun
    June 28, 2010 at 6:30 am

    I loved the book too, and thought the writing and character development were quite good. My favorite books are those set in the South. The issues of social justice and equality made for a very good read.

    BTW, thanks for recommending “An American Wife.” I absolutely loved it and agree with you that it was better than “Prep,” although I really enjoyed that one too.

  • Alaina
    June 28, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I think the most heartbreaking part of the book for me were Aibilene’s (sp? Oh, well) musings about the kind of woman Mae Mobley would grow up to be. It was just terrible to think that the kind of ridiculous stereotypes and racism that went on in these women’s lives would be passed onto an innocent child who knew nothing except that Aibilene loved her, and that she loved Aibilene back. All of the parts with Mae Mobley’s mother and father and teacher punishing her for “mistakes” she made (coloring herself as a black child, etc.) were just…heart rending to me.

    I loved Skeeter as well, but felt like the motivation for her to write the book was kind of false for some reason? I just kept wishing that she was more passionate about civil rights and that she wasn’t just writing this book because she needed something explosive and controversial to capture a publisher’s attention.

    Anyway, loveddd this book, and I also read it in 48 hours, haha. Great choice, Jenna!

  • tracy
    June 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I loved this book. I agreed with Jennie (#18). Change is a very slow thing. The issue of slavery was with this country from the beginning. It took 100 years to get to the breaking point with the Civil War, and then another 100 years for the civil rights movement to make more changes. My favorite character was Abilene, and her relationship with Mae Mobley. I work with small children, and like to think that I will make some small difference in their lives

  • Nichole
    June 28, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I was literally handed this book over the weekend. I’m on it. I am late to the party but can’t wait to pick it up!

  • Caitlin
    June 28, 2010 at 7:04 am

    I will add my name to the list of lovers of this book. Abeline was my favorite – partly because I could see myself being like her if I were in her situation and partly because I also watch Mad Men and in my mind the characters were very similar. There is so much love in this book – I want to go back and read it again. (By the way – I agree with Jennie, #18 – great summary.)

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    June 28, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I LOVED this book- when I first started reading I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but before I knew it I was totally sucked in and finished it in a day or so. I loved the “real” perspective the author gave- I also loved that it was loosely based on her experiences growing up with a maid- something that people rarely experience these days.

  • Olivia @ Blissful Runner
    June 28, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Jenna, I took your suggested reading list with me to the library on Saturday morning. This one was checked out (as were most of your other recommendations – you must have good taste!), but I did grab Those Who Save Us. Can’t wait to get sucked in. Thanks for the suggestions. 🙂

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    June 28, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Oh I LOVED this book! I read it in only a couple of days as well because it was soooo good!!

    I found the ending kind of abrupt. I would have liked to know what happened with the characters after the book was published. Did their lives change?

    Overall, one of the best books I’ve read in years!!

  • Stephanie
    June 28, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I loved Aibileen and Skeeter (and Mae Moebly…she was adorable and such a personification of the agents of change in the book). Minnie cracked me up too. I was heartbroken by the end, and I definitely teared up. Even though it ended abruptly, I’d like to think the relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley led to more positive change. It only takes one person to change the course of the world.

  • Maria
    June 28, 2010 at 7:54 am

    This book had me hooked from the first page too! I always read for 30 minutes in bed and each night while I was reading The Help, I would be so eager to hit the sack!

    I loved Minny. Her stubbornness, wit, charm, and intellect and the fact that she was just hilarious to me. I could literally hear her or Aibileen saying “Oh Lar” and would laugh every single time. Miss Celia was another of my favorites as well..something just drew me into her character. I felt bad for her too and was really rooting for her.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    June 28, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I havent read the book yet but it’s on the agenda for our next book club meeting. Really looking forward to it! 🙂

  • Meredith (Pursuing Balance)
    June 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I’m going to have to get this one from my library!

  • Angela (ohsheglows)
    June 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I have not read this book, but you make me want to. You are sooo cute! I totally pictured you talking in a school teacher voice with glasses on. lol.

  • Claire
    June 28, 2010 at 8:11 am

    I loved this book. It just drew me in. I think my favorite character was Aibileen. She was brave, kind, loving, and convicted. I, too, wish that there had been maybe a “follow-up” chapter…but maybe Stockett wanted us to make our own follow-up. I thought one of the neat things to see was how there were less people in the town who truly held on to Miss Hilly’s beliefs than she thought. I live in Jackson and kept finding myself driving to work wondering which house was Miss Hilly’s and thinking about Aibileen living just over the bridge I was looking at…very neat!

  • Betsy
    June 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I’m about half way through!!! It’s soooooo good

  • Krystle Walker
    June 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I personally loved the book. My husband and I are currently living in Jackson, MS so the book really explained a lot about this state. We are here because my husband is in seminary so we are surrounded by people that aren’t actually from this state, or even from the south. So, a group of us, made our own Help Tour. We visited all of the places mentioned in the book, took pictures and really enjoyed seeing all of it. This past Saturday, a group of us when to a casting call for the movie. We were all pretty excited when they wrote “banquet scene” on our applications and told us they are look for couples to be extras in the banquet scene.

  • Lindsay
    June 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I also loved this book! It’s just one of those books that you put down at the end and say “that was SO good!” (I did the same with American Wife). The character development is amazing, and I love the different voices throughout the book. It really helps bring out each character and their personalities. I agree with other comments that Skeeter’s reasons for writing the book seemed a bit superficial. I, too, would’ve liked her to take on an advocate role. Hopefully she will once she gets to New York! The relationship between Aibileen and Mae Mobley (what is that name by the way?) was also very touching. I hope Mae Mobley keeps Aibileen’s lessons in her heart. Can’t stand Miss Hilly! Reminds me of a friend from home. We’re only still friends because we grew up together, like Skeeter and Hilly. It’s hard sometimes to stand up to someone you’ve known all your life! I was proud to see Skeeter do so.

  • Becca
    June 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    My favorite book. I love the character development and “realness” of each character. I found myself identifying with all of them at one point or another. I know Stockett has faced some criticism on using her own voice in this book, but I think she does a great job. I gave this book to my mother in law (who was raised in Mississippi) to read and she said it was very accurate and it took her back to her childhood. Amazing!

  • A Teenage Gourmet (Sami)
    June 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    1) I love your photos
    2) I haven’t read this book, how about 1984? I have to read that one for school. 😉
    and 3) I love the book club idea anyway.

  • Nancy in Naples
    June 28, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Loved this book . . .Aibilene and Minny were my favorites because though the risks were huge, they knew they had to get their stories out there. The love between Aiblilene and these babies she raised was so touching. One of the best I have read in a long time . . .

  • SallyH
    June 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Sorry, I’m going to be one of the few to say I didn’t love this book. It was a good, fast read, but I felt like the characters were stereotypical, the dialect was a heavy-handed device that allowed the author to avoid true character development, and the author really stayed away from some of the real pain of the time. All in all, it seemed a kind of quaint story when it really could have been something more powerful.

  • Kathryn
    June 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I loved, loved, loved this book. Like you and many others, Jenna, I read it in about 48 hours and did not want it to end. I really did identify with this story and the characters. Though “The Help” took place several decades before my time, I too grew up in the south with a black maid and caregiver – Ms. Cora – who loved me and my sister (especially my sister!) like we were her own children. I personally identified most with Skeeter, but also loved the characters of Abilene and Ms. Celia. Like reader Maria (#35) said, I was really rooting for her! The relationship between Abilene and Mae Mobley literally touched my heart and brought me to tears. I like to think that she grows up to be a strong, kind and confident woman.

  • Mellissa
    June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I loved this book and was really surprised at how brave, yet naive the characters were. This was such a polarizing topic and they didn’t think through the ramifications of when the town found it.

    I also would have loved to read more about the aftermath and how it impacted some of the people who were the most racist.

  • Carole
    June 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I have to say that this book made me self reflect on my own prejudices. I think everyone has them–it may not be racial but could be economic or academic. My favorite character was Abilene–steady, loving and good. Her relationship with Mae Mobley melted my heart.

  • miss_matthews
    June 28, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I loved this book so much I made it the selection for my real life book club this past month. I loved the complexity of each character, and the shock and horror of the actuality of life in the sixties (I’m 31). As an Atlanta girl, understanding the hurt behind the segregation that still exists on many levels was very interesting and eye opening. I don’t know if I was sleeping during history class but I didn’t remember that EVEN the grocery stores were segregated. My book club joked that if we had been part of the help in the 60’s we would have put on our maid uniforms and shopped at the white grocery for the good fruit and meat etc.

    I wanted more from everyone’s story and I really hope Kathryn Sockett writes a sequel! We read another great novel last year that is set in the 60’s in Atlanta called The Swan House, I highly recommend it too.

  • Kathleen
    June 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I can’t wait to read this book. I requested it ages ago at the public library, but there was a huge wait list. I went from #97 on the list to #13, so maybe by the end of the summer…

  • Katharine
    June 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I read this for book club and was initially skeptical of the choice. I tend to stay away from books that don’t take place in present day (this book certainly rid me of that judgement!). I’d have to agree with you that my favorite aspect was how distinct each character’s voice was. And how much you grew to care about each woman. I also loved how educational it was, at least for me, and made me curious to see what women from that time think of the book.

    Thanks for picking this one for discussion – I love reading what others thought!

  • Julie B.
    June 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I loved this book and I grew up in Jackson, MS. My grandmother was born the same year as Abiliene and my mother was a maid until she became a nurse. I knew every street that they traveled down and have dined in the Robert E. Lee hotel and attended an awards banquet there as well. I love this story and I’m so glad that it is becoming a movie. They begin shooting in Greenwood, MS in July of this year. The actress that play Minny on the audiobook is also playing Minny in the movie and she gave that character such life. I loved how Mae Mobley was a little version of Skeeter and Abiliene was Mae Mobley’s Constintine.

    • Julie B.
      June 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Oh! The Jitney 14 is still standing!

  • Amy
    June 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I read this book on vacation – my mom brought it to me. I knew it must be good because my mom never spends money on a hard cover. I loved this book and was sad taht it had to come to an end. Being from the south I loved all the voices. I liked Skeeter’s strength, and felt bad for Celia, but I aspire to acquire Aibilene’s peaceful acceptance and her ability to change things.

  • Jill Shelley
    June 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Aibileen. Hands down. She got into my soul. I love her! What I loved most about this book was how I could just pick it up and be in Mississippi in 1963…the author was that good.

  • Rachel
    June 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I didn’t like this book as much as most of the people I’ve talked to, but I did think it had some merits. My dad and grandmother grew up in Mobile during Segregation, and after reading this book, it was interesting to hear their memories. They both grew up with black maids, who they considered them members of the family, but the maids may have had very different points of view.

    You mentioned your sympathy towards Miss Celia, and I thought she was an amusing and interesting character. I think we all know someone who is like her. I also pictured her as a Dolly Parton look-alike.

  • renae
    June 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I read The Help about three months ago and loved it so much that I’ve had a hard time getting into anything since! I couldn’t put it down and just ate up every single word. I’ve since gotten all my friends and family to read it!

  • whitney
    June 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Just finished this book a couple of days ago and I LOVED it! I agree that they should have went into skeeters relationship more, it kind of just ended randomly when I thought things were getting better for them. I am not from the south and I think she did an outstanding job of letting you get a feel of how it really is to be a black maid in Mississippi. For some reason I really liked Miss Celia character too! I totally loved her relationship with Minny and I found myself itching to read the Minny chapters. I am SOO glad I gave this book another chance, bc I thought this was a beautiful book~

  • Emily
    June 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I so baaaadly want to read all these comments but I’m afraid I’ll read something that gives away the ending! I’m not quite finished yet. This is BY FAR the best book I’ve read in a really long time- I look forward to any time I can squeeze in to read it!

  • Jen
    June 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I thought the book was great and I agree with you – it could have definitely gone more in depth. I’d love to see another book about the same characters, though I know it’s unlikely. Boo!

  • emilie
    June 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    My mom keeps telling me to read this! I’ll add it to my list. Thanks Jenna! I love your reviews. If you’re ever looking for something to read, my blog is entirely made up of book recs :).

  • Brittney
    June 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I loved the book!!!! I first requested it at the library when I saw it on your book club list and I’m glad I did because I had to wait along time to get it, after waiting patiently for it, I picked it up an started reading it and didn’t put it down for two days I loved it!!! My favorite character is defianetly aibleen, she stole my heart, I loved how it felt like u were right there alongside of her, and her connection with Mae mobley was magical, and I knew
    towards the end that she Would stop working for the family but I was still devasted and cried for like an hour! I’m on a waitlist for Sarahs Key at the library, either u have alot of readers in Seattle or it’s a very popular book, I may have to purhase it, I can’t wait to get my hands on it, it sounds so good!

  • Kristen
    June 29, 2010 at 6:45 am

    I started listening to this book on my ipod during a road trip, and ended up doing nothing else for two days…I loved it, but I’ll admit I was a little disappointed at times, especially with Skeeter’s character. But the more I think about it, I believe that was sort of the point – race relations in the south are complicated and messy and don’t always end quite the way you’d like. I also think that the title of this book as “The Help” was really interesting: I was thinking about all of the ways that the characters “helped” each other, regardless of race. Overall, a great summer read!

  • anne
    June 29, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I thought this book was excellent. I loved how Abbey taught the young children to love and be accepting.

  • Caitlin in MD
    June 29, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Stockett is a good storyteller and it definitely kept me engaged. And the themes of the book are of great interest to me. But overall, I’d have to agree with #46, SallyH. I found the characters to all be quite flat – true-life people are much more complicated than the way Stockett wrote her characters to be. Also a little too much cliche for me.

  • Allison
    June 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I loved this book! It’s funny and serious at the same time. The author was so engaging the whole time. All the women in my family are reading it.

    Minny was probably my favorite character. I loved that she had such a temper, but was so caring at the same time.

  • Logan
    June 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I finished this book on Friday, read it in two days like so many of you and I had the benefit of reading it while sitting in my beach chair on the NC coast. 🙂
    The one character that I really wanted to understand better was Elizabeth. On the surface she was so shallow, but there were hints of a deeper inner conflict with her, but she tended to side with Hilly (whose character I absolutely hated). It was interesting to talk with my mother (who grew up with “help” in her home), my sister and my husband about it since they had all read it too. My husband was “so so” about it. My sister really enjoyed it. My mom was conflicted and I think that is mostly because it probably hit home with her, although we agreed that the “help” that her family had was never treated badly, but there was a true seperation between blacks and whites at that point in time. I told her I was ashamed that people had ever been treated like that, but I knew it was probably true.
    I really enjoyed it. On your recommendation I also had gotten “American Wife”, but didn’t get far in it before closing it to read something else. I’ll try it again another time.
    Love these discussions!

  • a
    July 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I just bought this book today because you raved about it.

    Cant wait to get into it ! I love books you can’t put down.

  • Paige (Two Runners And A Brown Dog)
    July 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I am from Mississippi, so I felt that I just had to read this book. I was really drawn into it, and didn’t want to put it down. Mainly, I just wanted to see what was going to happen. At times, I felt like Stockett was really going to hit on something. I mean, there were a few moments when I thought, we had another Harper Lee on our hands. Unfortunately, I thought that Stockett kind of skimmed the surface instead of diving in. This is a very GOOD book, but with a little more depth, it could have been AMAZING!!!

  • Jaime
    July 25, 2010 at 5:47 am

    What a page turner! Coming from Australia, this novel was of great interest to me, not just for its historical background, but also because I love the south! I loved the language used throughout the novel and I loved the characters. Stockett wrote very loveable characters and also clear, stock villains. I agree with #69, that it does not have the same depth or symbolism as Lee’s ‘Mockingbird’… but it was still an interesting and inspiring read.

  • Corinne
    August 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I just finished this book and I am sad! I did NOT want it to end. Aibileen warmed my heart and it was her voice that I heard first and loudest throughout. <3

    Looking through your other recommendations tonight and I think American Wife is next. So far you are two for two for me! (The Help, Sarahs Key) Thanks!