The Help

Stockett, Kathryn

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Help
In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women--black and white, mothers and daughters--view one another.

Publisher: New York : Amy Einhorn Books, c2009
ISBN: 9780399155345
Branch Call Number: FIC S
Characteristics: 451 p. ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Book - Movie Tie Ins by: nypl_huguenot_park Apr 30, 2012

Oscar winning movie adaptation

January 28, 2012

From the critics

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Mar 29, 2015
  • MurielW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book explores racism in a very different way than what we usually see. I really enjoyed the complexity of the main characters and the development of the story. It's so neat how none of them set out to change the world but accomplished something so significant, even so. I really enjoyed the small surprises throughout the book as well. The plot took some interesting twists that I didn't see coming.

Mar 03, 2015

“The Help” takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. The novel follows three main characters: Aibileen, a black maid grieving for her dead son; Minny, a black maid who was recently fired by one of the biggest racists in town; and Skeeter, a bookish white girl who recently graduated from university. After learning of her beloved maid’s departing, Skeeter sets off with the idea to write a book about the lives of maids from around Jackson. The biggest problem with this, is that none of the maids are willing to speak out against their white employers, for fear of the horrible things the employers would do in retaliation. Eventually, Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny become unlikely friends, and overcome barriers they never before expected they could conquer.

“The Help” is a beautiful, incredible book. It is based off of the author’s childhood in Mississippi, and portrays the racism from the era in all of its vileness. The characters are wonderfully written, and each one is unique and likeable (well, except for the ones meant to be unlikeable). The setting is brilliantly described, and makes readers feel as though they are really in Mississippi. The colloquial voice of the novel also helps to bring across this vibe. The plot itself is heartbreaking, humorous, and well-planned (it is very clear that Stockett knew exactly what she wanted to write from the moment she started), and will not only have readers on the edge of their seats, but also sobbing into their pillows and laughing like hyenas.

The author of this review highly recommends this book. It is a phenomenal novel that will span the ages. “The Help” would make a good essay or ‘book talk’ book, but does lack symbolism and deeper meanings past the evident ones. Overall, the author of this review believes this novel to be suitable for ages thirteen and up.

Dec 22, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is the book club selection that won't die. It is in fact very well written, with a compelling story. Does it soft-pedal the horrors of Jim Crow Mississippi? That's the problem--turning the Black experience into something of a joke. And once again, it's a white character that rides in to "save" these women--in this case, by providing them a voice through her writing.

Oct 26, 2014
  • artemishi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Help is a book recommended to me multiple times, and I'm glad I finally picked it up. I may even see the movie now! It tells the story of multiple women, through three narrators- all outcasts in different ways, during the 1960's in Mississippi. The Civil Rights movement, the assassination of Kennedy, Rosa Parks...seeing how closely in time these events (and more) occurred was a refreshing look at a frightening time in history. I cannot imagine what it was like to be a black domestic employee in such a racially-charged area, essentially a second-class citizen, but this book does a nice job of portraying both good and bad extremes.

In terms of how true-to-life it is, I don't know- I grew up in a racially diverse area with no history of slavery, so I imagine the answer to that question depends on who is asking. From the stories I've gotten from my mom (who dated a black man in late 60's- and he broke up with her because of the fear that white people would find out and kill him for it), it seems an honest enough amalgam. It definitely brought to vivid life the little cruelties, but also the community (in both negative and positive aspects), of that area and era. It also weaves in a 'women coming into her own' story.

I liked the ending, even though I usually rail against all-loose-ends-tied-up endings, simply because I wanted to throttle Hilly so many times throughout the book. From Stockett's afterward, there may have been a bit of Mary Sueing of Skeeter, but it also may be Skeeter is based in her experience, in order for the author to have a point of reference.

I recommend it for fans of 20th century historical fiction, the American South, the 1960's, the Civil Rights movement, female protagonists, stories that come together because of multiple perspectives, and anyone who liked the movie.

Aug 29, 2014

To miaone: The horror of the American South varied for each black person. Some blacks were treated one step above a slave and some blacks were treated like the book portrait for the time period (1960s). The author kept with one story and not the whole story. I feel she did a great job.

Jun 27, 2014
  • miaone rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This insipid, anemic book understates the horror of the American South. The times it purports to tell of were evil, vile, unbearably painful, not cutely uncomfortable as some of the readers seem to think. This book is shallow, and to know what things were like in the US South during the 1950's and 1960's, you should watch on PBS the documentaries on the student Freedom Riders and those who sat in at the lunch counters. That was real. This book tells a story that, far from the terror of the real thing, is banal, silly, vapid.
People paid with their lives for going against the power structure of white ignorance; those who are still alive still have nightmares about it and their bodies often still bear the scars.

This silly book, if it had been at all true to life, would not be enjoyable or entertaining. It would have been too painful for you to read more than a few pages at a time. Readers should have been not just shocked but appalled and sickened to learn what those times in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and all the rest of the South were like. This book is like a drawing in icing -- sweet and inaccurate. If you thought it was worth reading you should be ashamed at how little you know.

Jun 23, 2014
  • violet_flamingo_261 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was so, so, so, so good!!! It really showed what it was like back then. I think that books like this are so interesting, because of the conflicting points of view. A must read!

May 31, 2014
  • marriedwithtriplets rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I think this book is educational and enjoyable. Eye opening look of how women would treat each other in a racist era and a difficult point in history. The hate and love mixed together in such a complex manner is just amazing. I would recommend this book to everyone!

May 06, 2014
  • lilly29 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed reading The Help and was sad when it was done. Stockett grab my attention and put me right in the Pre-Civil Rights Era in the state of Mississippi.
It was moving to read this type of work coming from a white author. She spoke as if she witnessed it all and at the same time there is no doubt that someone did witness it all- colored and white.
Now, I probably will see the movie.

Apr 30, 2014

Fantastic, entertaining look into the world of privileged people and their staff.

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Add Age Suitability

Mar 29, 2015
  • MurielW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

MurielW thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 23, 2014
  • violet_flamingo_261 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

violet_flamingo_261 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 27, 2012
  • yellow_fish_98 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

yellow_fish_98 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 84

Nov 19, 2012

peterngahe1901 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Sep 17, 2012
  • KazNic rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

KazNic thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 24, 2012
  • Michelle M. Veilleux rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Michelle M. Veilleux thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

May 29, 2012
  • shaniserobinson rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

shaniserobinson thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Mar 25, 2012
  • ReadingintheCorner rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

ReadingintheCorner thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Oct 26, 2011
  • BookWorm818 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

BookWorm818 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Sep 12, 2011
  • McDLT rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

McDLT thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Add a Quote

May 31, 2014
  • marriedwithtriplets rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, "Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Apr 08, 2014

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Sep 21, 2012
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“I always thought insanity would be a dark, bitter feeling, but it is drenching and delicious if you really roll around in it.”
― Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Aug 24, 2012

"You is kind, You is smart, You is important."

Jul 31, 2012

" I might not remember my name but i do remember 2 things. My daughter putting me in a nursing home and you eating shit "

May 29, 2012
  • shaniserobinson rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"you is kind you is smart you is important"

Oct 11, 2011
  • Infolass rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize we are just tow people. Not that much separates us. For nearly as much as I thought.”

“They say it’s like true love, good help. You only get one in a lifetime”.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important”

Aug 22, 2011
  • abpainter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The summer rolls behind us like a hot tar spreader.

Jun 01, 2011
  • NanaPat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

( from "Grady's Gift" [ Howell Raines] inserted by Kathry Stockett , in "Too Little Too Late" :
" There is no trickier subject for a writer from the South than that of affection between a black person and a white one in the unequal world of segretation. For the dishonesty upon which a society is founded makes every emotion suspect , makes it impossible to know whether what flowed between two people was honest feeling or pity or pragmatism."
Mrs. Phelan :
"They say its like true love , good help . You only get one in a lifetime . "


Add a Summary

Jun 17, 2014

Very entertaining and eye opening.

Jul 25, 2012

Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter is a southern girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends lives and a Mississippi town upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen, Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up to the dismay of her friends in the tight black town. Despite Skeeter lifelong friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their plan and soon more maids decides to tell their stories. It turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become caught up in the changing times

Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, three women, including an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend, and a recently graduated white woman, team up for a clandestine project. 464p.

Jun 01, 2011
  • NanaPat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home with a degree from Ole Miss , but her mother won't be happy until she has a ring on her finger. Aibileen is a black maid , a wise , regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Minny , Aibileen's best friend , can cook like nobody's business , but she can't mind her tongue so she can't keep a job . It's 1962 , and these three ordinary women are about to take one extra-ordinary step that forever changes a town and the way women-mothers , daughters , caregivers , friends- view one another.


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