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The Help

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burlgirl
Scribbler
Location: Corinth, NY

The Help

Postby burlgirl » Tue June 1st, 2010, 8:57 pm

Does the 1960s count as historical fiction? From my point of view, anything after WWI is recent history, so this book feels very modern. I'm listening to it on my drive home everyday, and while I didn't know if I could get into it I've found myself sitting in the driveway for an extra 15 minutes on more than one occasion.

Did anyone else read/listen to this, and what was you reaction? I'm on disc 9 of 15...

Interestingly, there are 3 narrators, for the 3 main characters, and the woman who narrates Skeeter makes me bonkers.

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Tue June 1st, 2010, 9:25 pm

I did read that book last year. I thought it was ok -- I gave it three stars. In my Amazon review I go into quite a bit of detail about what I did and didn't like. I don't know if you're interested in reading it, but if I'm "Michele" over there. (I would put a link here but I can't figure out how. Sorry!) You might want to wait until you're finished, though, as I think my review may be a bit of a spoiler.

The book is narrated by three people, also. Who produced your audio book? The quality of the narrators makes all the difference in an audio book. A couple of companies are consistent at using excellent narrators. Some other companies are more hit-and-miss.
Last edited by Michy on Tue June 1st, 2010, 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue June 1st, 2010, 10:08 pm

I just finished the Help, and I loved it! I wouldn't call it historical fiction myself, because I lived through those years. However, California was very much more integrated than Mississippi in the 60s. I went to school with a few black children, and participated in YWCA programs with about a 40/60 split, and the only 'difference' in their treatment was that I felt I had to be very, very nice because their ancestors had once been slaves.

In Los Angeles, you had to be careful not to get between the Chicano gangs and the black gangs. I also remember the Watts riots.
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User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Location: California

Postby Michy » Tue June 1st, 2010, 11:22 pm

My biggest complaint with this book was that the characters all felt like people I'd read about dozens of times before. In other words, stereotypes. The character of Minnie is the only one who felt fresh and original (and Aibileen, to a lesser degree).

I really did like the way she ended the book, though. I'm not going to say much because I don't want to spoil it for Burl Gurl, but I much prefer books that don't have "happy ever after" endings where everything ties up nice and neat. And the last scene with Aibileen was really moving.

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EC2
Bibliomaniac
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Postby EC2 » Tue June 1st, 2010, 11:39 pm

It's on my TBR for my next spree at Amazon!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Tue June 1st, 2010, 11:46 pm

"Michy" wrote:My biggest complaint with this book was that the characters all felt like people I'd read about dozens of times before. In other words, stereotypes. The character of Minnie is the only one who felt fresh and original (and Aibileen, to a lesser degree).


I totally agree - not only have I read them a dozen times, but the other books I've read have been better.

In terms of it being HF, yeah, I'd call it HF. I think it would be different if it was just set in the 60s anywhere else, but this was a specific place,time and culture that certainly was historic, even in our own lifetimes.

I grew up in very white bred (bread) phoenix; we didn't even have many Hispanics in our neighborhood and the first time I ate Mexican food was when Taco Bell opened in 1970! I didn't know many Blacks till HS, then it was just a couple in our drama dept. So while it wasn't the south, I can definitely remember all those attitudes my friends and relatives had about minorities (which was weird because as Jews, we were definitley in the minority at that time). I remember the Watts riots only because I remember my mom watching the news and hearing her say 'those riots will be coming here'. I had nightmares for a week after that.
Last edited by Ash on Tue June 1st, 2010, 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Wed June 2nd, 2010, 8:52 am

I loved it! I thought it was a wonderful book and I was so sad when it ended. The characters were so well developed and their individual personalities came across so beautifully. It was written with a sense of humour, but I was always aware of the more serious issues.
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Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
burlgirl
Scribbler
Location: Corinth, NY

Postby burlgirl » Fri June 11th, 2010, 7:59 pm

Michy,
I wish I could tell you who narrated the book, but the CD from the library were in a non-orginal case, so I couldn't tell. Sorry. They were good though! A fourth narrator showed up for a chapter.

Now that I've finished the book, I can still say I liked it very much. It's not my typical read, so I didn't feel that I had run across the characters before.

I liked so much about thist book - the similarities between Mae Mo and Skeeter, how strong Minnie was even though not in every area of her live, Abileen, etc...

User avatar
michellemoran
Bibliophile
Contact:

Postby michellemoran » Fri June 11th, 2010, 9:11 pm

I really, really enjoyed this book, especially the character Minny. I thought it would be a slow, heavy read, and was hesitant about buying it at first. But I finished it in about 3 days. I thought the ending was great as well.
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