Monday, October 25, 2010

book ends book list: The Help

9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This was the most engaging book that I’ve read so far this year, which I kind of hate saying, because it’s always more fun to be subversive and to dislike all of the New York Times bestsellers, but in this instance, I have to say that the general public got it right on this one. The story is one about the lives of “the help” in the 1960s South, and follows the lives of several of the black maids and a young white woman writer who wants to bring attention to the unfair conditions that the help have to work under. Stocking switches the point of view for each chapter of the novel, which is a device that I always love, and the story is written with an intensity that I haven’t seen in many new novels as of late—she is always moving the story forward, rather than leaving the characters to mull things over for chapters on end, like some of the books I’ve read recently (ahem, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… but we’ll discuss that later). I flew through this hefty book in just a few days, and found myself staying up past my bedtime and even reading on a weekend evening just to see what happened next. I think that one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this book so much was because it brought up sensitive and important issues about race and racism without becoming a book that becomes preachy or patronizing to the reader about these things (a very hard thing to balance, in my opinion). Not only this, but I found the characters so personable, so entertaining, that I often laughed at things they did while I was reading. So trust the New York Time bestseller list on this one at least, if not for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (but that's for another blog post entirely).

Happy reading,

L. Stacks

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