Hello, fellow readers! Today I have for you my take on the bestselling novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The Help is one of those novels that just suck you in right from the beginning!
The Help saved me from Pride and Prejudice, which I just couldn’t bring myself to read past chapter 23. But you know all about that already with my post about boring books.
Below I will give you an overall briefing about the book, without too many spoilers! Lastly, I will follow up with my personal thoughts on the novel The Help.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett Book Overview
The Help takes place in 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi and centers around three main characters, Aibileen Clarke, Eugenia Phelan “Miss Skeeter”, and Minny Jackson.
The three band together, after much thought and deliberating on Aibileen and Minny’s part, to write (and hopefully get published) a book of stories about what it is like for a black maid to work for a white family in the heart of the south during the segregation era.
Even though The Help is fiction, I really enjoyed learning (after reading about the author) that Stockett actually grew up in Jackson and had a maid herself growing up.
I immediately wanted to see the movie after reading The Help book.
I always do this. I HAVE to read the book before the movie. But, then sometimes I regret it because the whole time I am watching the movie I’m just evaluating everything.
“Nope, that’s not right, they did it like ___ in the book.”
“What the hell is going on?! They left a huge chunk out/that didn’t even happen/who do these people think they are?!”
Yeah, I get pretty ticked off while watching the movies. The book is always. ALWAYS. better. But, such is life, they can’t make The Help movie 10 hours long now can they? *le sigh*
Warning: an in-depth synopsis of The Help book ahead!
Here we have the three main characters, first Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny.
Miss Skeeter is an aspiring writer that got turned down for a job due to lack of experience in New York but was encouraged to get experience and to try again and of course, to practice writing. Skeeter calls up the publishing company that turned her down to thank them for their encouragement.
She speaks to her contact at the publishing company, Mrs. Stein, and she tells Skeeter to come up with an idea that no one has thought of before. Immediately Skeeter knows she wants to write through the eyes of the help.
Skeeter lands a job writing the Mrs. Myrna column, about housekeeping, for the local paper. She has to try and persuade her friend’s maid, Aibileen, to help her write the housekeeping section (Skeeter hasn’t had to clean a thing in her life!) while conversing about her new job, she convinces Aibileen to help her write the illegal novel.
After getting Aibileen’s story and Mrs. Stein loving the concept she encourages Skeeter to get at least 12 more maids to interview.
Twelve more maids?!
She assures Mrs. Stein that they are all lined up, lying through her teeth after Aibileen had already told her she had been turned down by 31 other maids.
Reluctantly, Aibileen’s best friend Minny gives in and agrees to let Skeeter write down her experiences. Minny is a sass-mouthing mess but is the best cook in all of Jackson.
And boy does she have some stories! She used to work for Skeeter’s best friend and queen of the socialites, Hilly.
Hilly gets a funny feeling about Skeeter early on and starts snooping around and things turn ugly.
That is as much detail that I will get into so I won’t ruin anything for you but I do encourage you to get your hands on The Help!
My thoughts on The Help Book
Three reasons why I love The Help:
- It’s funny. It is not a comedy but some lines just had me wanting to read on and on!
- It is easy to read. Even though The Help talks about a very serious time in American history, the author really thought about how to write the story in a way that it just flows.
- I really felt a connection with each of the characters. You get to know them from their point of view. Even though the story is through Miss Skeeter’s mindset for most of the novel, Stockett provides insight into the brain and life of both Minny and Aibileen.
My overall thoughts on The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Help is a novel I reach for again and again. I’m the type of person that once I like something, I keep going back to it multiple times.
I’m a hardcore reader but I read the same books multiple times. The Help book is no different. Each time I read it I feel like I pick up something new.
Just like The Help movie, it is a go-to movie I will put on in the background when I am cooking or cleaning. The Help overall is a staple in my life.
My favorite character in The Help has to be Minny (and a close second Celia Foote). I feel like I have a connection to Minny because she loves to cook just like I do.
One of my favorite The Help quotes:
“Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life.” – Minny Jackson, The Help
Minny also seems to be one of the more complex characters. She is super strong willed on the outside but only her close friend know the struggles she has to go through.
One of Minny’s most famous scenes, and basically, the most famous storyline of the whole book is her infamous Minny’s Chocolate Pie. I’ll just let it at that, but let’s just say you will think twice about having two slices of pie next time!
I grew up in the south, even though The Help took place in 1962, it just felt comforting. I was read each part in a thick southern accent and I couldn’t be happier about it.
The Help Cast
I truly believe they cast wonderfully for The Help Movie. Here are a few main members of the cast:
- Emma Stone as “Miss Skeeter” Eugenia Phelan
- Viola Davis as Aibileen Clarke
- Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson
- Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote
- Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook
Did you read The Help or saw the movie? Which is your favorite part??