Maggie Stiefvater's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1246837
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: adult, recommended
Recommended to Maggie by: everyone's mum and their barbers
Recommended for: everyone and their mum. and their barbers

So, it looks like THE HELP is turning out to be one of those novels that I love despite flaws. Nearly everyone in the world knows what this book is about (as I pen this review, it is at #2 in Amazon sales ranking) but I shall reiterate: it’s the story of three women -- two black, one white -- in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, and how the two black maids work with the one extremely naive white young woman to write a book of their stories as “the help.”

In the spirit of honesty, I should tell you that I didn’t want to read it. It sounded like it was going to hit the Maggie Trifecta of Doom:

1) Fiction that is Good for You
2) “Women’s Fiction”, now with 60% more tears
3) Mint Julep references*

*I have not been thrilled by a single novel that mentions a mint julep. I’m not sure if this is coincidence.

However, I loved it. Despite the fact that the book is massive -- pick it up next time you go by, it’s a doorstop -- I read it in three evenings. It was engrossing, very well characterized and often funny. Strangely enough, two of those are also part of what I consider its flaws. The characters are so reliably themselves that they are nearly caricatures in some areas. While it meant I could definitely never mistake one woman’s voice for another, it also gave it a bit of a Hollywood/ sitcom feel; they were types instead of people. And the funny -- well, race relations in ‘60s Mississippi is not exactly all fun and mint juleps, as everyone knows. But this book is upbeat, uplifting, and ultimately made a bit fluffy by all its humor and optimism. Again, I could imagine this as a Hollywood screenplay in a New York minute.

Still, don’t get me wrong -- it’s wonderfully written and easy to love and very easy to recommend. I also think it would be a killer book club book, because there is a lot to talk about in here, and I don’t just mean the Trifecta of Doom bits. I think that everyone who reads it will at least like it, even if it will not become their absolute favorite in the world. And we need books like that. So go out and read it.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.***
81 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Help.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2010 – Finished Reading
January 26, 2010 – Shelved
January 26, 2010 – Shelved as: adult
November 7, 2013 – Shelved as: recommended

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Julie H. I love your Trifecta of Doom idea--esp. item #2. It's got me laughing aloud in my office inthe late afternoon--which has the added bonus of freaking out the other professors on the hall. Thanks, Maggie.


message 2: by Candace (new)

Candace Thanks for the laugh Maggie! This is one I wouldn't pick up on my own either. I would feel the same you did before you read it. But now I know it's worth my time and if I see it somewhere I'll be sure to pick it up!


Maggie Stiefvater Julie H. wrote: "I love your Trifecta of Doom idea--esp. item #2. It's got me laughing aloud in my office inthe late afternoon--which has the added bonus of freaking out the other professors on the hall."

Hahah, Julie. You're welcome. Anytime I can freak out professors . . .

Candace says: But now I know it's worth my time and if I see it somewhere I'll be sure to pick it up!

I hope you enjoy it when you do!


Marie Thanks for recommending this book. Like yourself, and so many others, I wouldn't have picked this story on my own. Because of your review I gave the book a chance and have been pleasantly surprised. Thanks Maggie!


Maggie Stiefvater That's wonderful, Cori! You're welcome!


Sabrina You read this book on my b-day 2 years ago!


Molly Moblo Perusse I am ashamed to say I am reading the book after watching the movie, which was excellent. She had me at,“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”


message 8: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro 'Everyone, their mum and their barbers.'
That spectrum did make me smile, Maggie. There's a vein of humour threading through your review, which is making me want to read your other ones. Great stuff!


back to top