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Topic: The Help - Kathryn Stockett

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Subject: The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Date Posted: 3/31/2009 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2005
Posts: 456
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Not sure if anyone here has this on their wish list (it's a long line), but if you don't I highly recommend you add it!  My sorority's alumnae chapter choose to  read this for our May book club meeting as the author is a fellow sister.    I am not a fan of southern writers, nor have I enjoyed prior books written by a couple other of my sorority sisters, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Set in 1960s Mississippi, it's a tale of three women - two black, one white.   Skeeter is an Ole Miss grad who disappointed her mother by not finding a husband at college and dreams of becoming a journalist.  When she applies for a job at a NYC publishing company, she makes the acquaintance of an editor who encourages her to submit some ideas for her to review.  Skeeter's initial ideas are rejected as 'dull' and 'uninteresting' but she then embarks upon a quest to tell the story of the colored help and their white employers.  With the help of Aibelene (spelled incorrectly, I'm sure since I don't have the book in front of me), she begins collecting stories - some happy, some sad, from a group of black women.  Skeeter's relationships with her Junior League friends become strained as a result.  Minny and Aibelene (two of "the Help" of the title) are housekeepers/nannies to some of the town's blue bloods.  Aibelene is the first to tell her story to Skeeter, then Minny comes on board and helps recruit other women to share their tales.

As I read, I found myself agog that things were like this in our country, not all that very long ago.  There are some funny moments and some sorrowful moments, but overall I enjoyed the book.  I don't think it's destined to become a classic, but worth reading.  My only niggle with it is that the author's choice of writing Minny and Aibelene's voice in dialect (think Mammy's voice in GWTW).  It took me a bit to make the connection and get the cadence of their voice going in my head.  The book is told from three points of view - SKeeter, Minny and Aibilene and when it changes from one POV to another it took me a moment to reorientate myself.

Three cheers to Ms Stockett and an impressive debut novel.  I definitely look forward to reading more of her work -- and would even if she weren't a sorority sister. :

Date Posted: 3/31/2009 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I saw this book at Costco and went home to add to my WL.  It will be out in PB before I get it.  It looks interesting.

Date Posted: 3/31/2009 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Marci, I was lucky enough to win this book in a giveaway, read it immediately, and like you I would highly recommend it.

Linda

Date Posted: 4/1/2009 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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This does sound good! Another for the already overloaded wishlist. ;-)

Date Posted: 4/7/2009 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2006
Posts: 5,069
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It's on my WL. I'm #118 of 354!

Think I'm just going to order this one.