The Help..

 

 


bookshelves: historical-fictionto-read-in-2013

Read from March 20 to April 17, 2013

 

I am at a loss for words, really. For the life of me, I cannot understand what all the hype is about… The Help has received rave reviews from many around here, successful critics, and has even been adapted into the popular film of the same name.

It isn’t all bad, though. Initially, Stockett’s writing impressed me very much. There’s something beautiful about the way it’s written, you can just hear the dialogue in your head. And her portrayal of the Deep South in the 1960’s seems authentic. The author, who grew up in Mississippi, clearly did her research. More than that, she experienced such troubling times.
However, the events depicted throughout her debut novel feel tame in comparison. If one of her objectives was to illuminate racial segregation and the Civil Rights movement as a whole, then I think she should have shown these problems at their worst. Please don’t sugar coat the past.

I enjoyed the multiple character perspectives, I think it adds a degree of realism. It’s always a nice change, and allows the reader to see things in different ways.
Miss Skeeter is, without a doubt, my favorite character. I can relate to her on various levels. For instance, she’s an outsider, or outcast, if you will. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always kind of seen myself as such.
My main interest was her passion for the written word. Through them, she wanted to change the way we view the world, or inspire someone in some way or another. I have similar aspirations.
If I had to choose a second character, it’d have to be Aibileen. I liked her almost immediately, but I don’t believe her character is fully developed (Miss Skeeter is only one that is, IMO.) Aibillen is on the receiving end of much loss, regret. In particular, she’s in the process of grieving, which-in turn- leads her to be bitter.

Minny is often sassy, and her uppity attitude consistently gets her in trouble. In a way, I liked her for who she is, but at the same time, found her annoying. She can be weak at times, as well.

The Help is somewhat entertaining and at times, compelling. But it’s inconsistent. Why should the reader be subjected to an abundance of everyday, mundane happening in the lives of these three women and-worse yet- the residents of Jackson? It’s a snooze-fest, really.
Then, when the novel is heading toward its inevitable conclusion, the main idea (or plot,) fizzles out and doesn’t go very far.

There were also a few instances which I believe to be contrived.

“This could be one of the most important pieces of fiction sinceTo Kill a Mockingbird… If you read only one book…let this be it.”
-NPR.org

I couldn’t disagree more. Harper Lee’s classic is in a class all its own. There’s no comparison, IMO!

Again, I beg you: what is so special about The Help? Where does all the hype stem from? I REALLY DO NOT GET IT!!

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