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The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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Post by JennBarnes » Wed December 29th, 2010, 8:10 pm

I actually do agree that it was overhyped. I liked it, but it was everywhere. :)

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Post by Michy » Wed December 29th, 2010, 8:21 pm

When I say "over-hyped" I don't just mean that it's everywhere, but that people are gushing it's the "Most Profound Book On Race Relations Since To Kill A Mockingbird" (or something to that order). No, it's not a profound book on race relations; it doesn't tackle the issue in a serious enough way for that. It's really along the lines The Nanny Diaries set in 1960s Mississippi. Entertaining, yes. Serious or ground-breaking or profound, no.

That's my opinion, anyway. :)

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Post by JennBarnes » Thu December 30th, 2010, 2:21 am

Yes, entertaining, but *lite*, I agree. My book club read 'The Color Purple' right after 'The Help' and in the obvious comparisons that came from the discussion the consensus was that 'The Help' had a lack of perspective. I hadn't heard that it was being placed in the same category as TKM, most of the ladies in my book club thought it was a breezy read, despite the violence. Race relations can make a fascinating platform for a novel, I don't think 'The Help' got there because Stockett was more or less telling her own story and there is a dichotomy between her point of view and the ability to tell the story of a black maid in the 1950's. To answer the original question in the thread, I think she got the white women's characters spot on, I don't know about the maids.

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Tue August 23rd, 2011, 6:33 pm

I'm coming in very late to this party, but I will chime in as I have lived in the southern US--not Mississippi but Tennessee--for the vast majority of my life thus far. Before I go on my rant, know that I love my home, its green forests and rivers, its kind neighbors and fun atmosphere BUT...

The Help freaked me out because it reminded me of all the snotty little southern girls who I could not get along with (please ignore my grammar, I'm channeling my inner middle schooler here). Hair and clothes all ironed and perfect, saying I act too boyish and nerdy, telling me my parents are rude yankees. Of course, all this is said without saying it. Eye rolls, shoulder shrugs, failure to invite someone to a party, talking just loud enough so the object of hate can hear you but knows they're not part of the conversation. Yeah. Kathryn got that part just right.

And prejudice is alive and kicking down here still. It is sickening and very difficult to fight because so many people don't even realize they are acting differently toward blacks, hispanics, and other non Caucasians. It is infuriating. One woman I know said that she wasn't racist until a black person attacked her sister. Really? A white man mugged my friend and she doesn't look in the mirror and hate whites. It is just crazy. It's not everyone, but it is there.

Now about the writing...I loved everyone in first person and then everyone in third omni at the benefit. I thought that was cool.

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Post by rebecca » Mon September 12th, 2011, 2:58 am

Michy--"My biggest complaint were the characters who were all predictable, cookie-cutter stereotypes (except for Minnie -- she was the only one I found fresh and original).."

Miss Moppet....."How can reviewers compare this book to Mockingbird? Mockingbird was saying "Everything is not all right. Things need to change. White people can't put things right however much they want to, and most of them don't."

I am with the above ladies. I simply did not like 'The Help'and I wonder if some of the reason is that the book was over-hyped. I remember a review which did compare it to 'To Kill a Mockingbird' heck it doesn't run close.
Perhaps the author did not mean for it be so over the top in reviews and she wrote it a little 'tongue in cheek' which quite frankly didn't work either.

I really wanted to love this book but it simply didn't engage me. I wrote in another post that the author merely skates over the surface of her characters without really involving the reader and taking them to the heart of the characters.

I think it will make a better movie and perhaps it was written with that in mind.

Bec :)

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Post by marklord » Tue November 8th, 2011, 12:53 pm

I'm half way through listening to the audiobook version of The Help at the moment - I've tried to ignore the hype as much as possible, but I haven't been able to help noticing that it seems a rather popular book!

I listened to a free preview to start with expecting to not be that excited, but after 20 minutes I was pretty much hooked.

At the half-way mark I'm wondering what is going to happen next, things seem to be drifting somewhat - hopefully there's going to be something soon to spark my attention. But I have enjoyed what I've listened to so far. Not original maybe, but well done.
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