Tatiana's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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did not like it
bookshelves: abandoned, why-the-hype, historical

I don't think this could be any more obvious, trite and cliche-ridden. The book's only aim is to make white people feel better about themselves (you know, that same old a-brave-white-lady-savior story you've read and a few dozen times before). Guess it worked. Again.
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Reading Progress

March 22, 2010 – Shelved
January 24, 2011 – Started Reading
January 24, 2011 – Shelved as: why-the-hype
January 24, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 30, 2016 – Shelved as: abandoned
October 18, 2016 – Shelved as: historical

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Penny (new)

Penny Good to know. I've been told to read this book several times but I've been putting it off. Now I won't bother with it, or feel guilty for not bothering with it.

Tatiana IDK how many times it was recommended to me. Books about race are hard to write and this one is not one of the good ones.

message 3: by jesse (last edited Jan 25, 2011 01:51PM) (new)

jesse Heh. I haven't read it, but it's being made into a movie starring Easy A's Emma Stone. I liked Easy A. I liked Emma Stone. So, I'm most likely going to watch her upcoming projects as well (Spiderman Reboot, The Help)

message 4: by Sheri (new)

Sheri Wow, I was surprised to see that one lonely star because so many people have told me it's really good!

message 5: by Jami (new) - added it

Jami Interesting! For some reason, this book hasn't appealed to me, but SO many people have recommended it. I'm thinking I'll hold off on it. I tend to trust your opinion :)

Tatiana IDK about you, but I tend not to like bestsellers. However they are bestsellers for a reason - they do have general appeal, so I am always reluctant to advise against reading such books. The majority of my GR friends loved it.

message 7: by Jami (new) - added it

Jami Same. I'm usually a bit wary of bestsellers, too. They always seem to be more hype than anything else. I'm often disappointed. Then I feel guilty having to tell the friends who recommended the book that I don't like it.

Adrianna This book feels way to cliche for me right now. I'm not all the way done with it, but how many times do we have to write this same story?

Lucy I thought it was an excellent book, I certainly didn't feel better about myself (as a white person) and you haven't read it, how can you rate it?

message 10: by jesse (last edited Jan 27, 2012 01:22AM) (new)

jesse Lucy wrote: "I thought it was an excellent book, I certainly didn't feel better about myself (as a white person) and you haven't read it, how can you rate it?"

there are lots of books people (view spoiler) don't completely finish (for whatever reason (view spoiler)) and they still rate them. so what?

Sofie or you can look at the bright side of it. This book was written on the way blacks were actually treated. Some were treated well, and some weren't. That's what the author is trying to show. She is not try ing to white people feel better about themselves.

message 12: by Lina (new) - added it

Lina My first thought at Sofie's comment: If she wasn't trying to make white people feel better about themselves, why did she show those blacks that were supposedly treated well? Because that time was oh so warm and cuddly?

Julie LeForce What a shame, not only was this book well written but it truly is a moving story.

Kassidy How is it supposed to make white people feel good about themselves? I felt ashamed for those fools all through the book. Did this book teach you nothing? That there should be no lines between people when there doesn't need to be?

Arianna Well, I'm white and I certainly didn't feel better about myself reading about how badly ladies treated their maids and how racist they were in the 60s. What is it precisely that you didn't like about this book?

Kristin Madeleine I'm white; I'm not finished reading but so far I feel embarrassed and ashamed on behalf of my race for having been as irrationally ignorant as some of the characters in this book

Matheyeus Uh no. You obviously misinterpreted the point of the novel. The message was to show how life was like back then and to convey several hidden messages about life and social interaction.

Kawthar Bakhach I didn't like the book either, but I completely disagree with you. Yeah, Skeeter's white. That's not why I disliked her. That's not why I disliked this book. I despise the complete hypocrisy of people when it comes to racism these days, and i'm not even white. Stop bashing on people for their skin color.

message 19: by S. (new)

S. Davis I loved "50 Years a Slave" (the movie, not the book, as I couldn't stay interested with the format...) Not sure if there's a white savior type in the movie, because all I remember is the humiliation and injustice of it all, but I agree with your review of "The Help." I tend to stay away from Oprah Book Club books anyway. They all seem to be a reason for privileged people to feel indignant about the atrocities of humanity. But what do they really do about it? Drink tea, discuss the book, and feel like they've done their civic duty? Maybe I'm cynical, who knows.

message 20: by S. (new)

S. Davis *Twelve* Years a Slave! Sorry 'bout that!

message 21: by Meg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meg Firstly, the fact that you think this book is about “some white woman saving the day” is completely irrational and saddening as it clearly shows that you missed the point of this story completely. This story is about stripping back labels and how when we take away stereotypes about race, and income and social status; when we are really able to look at our core needs and wants as humans then we can see that we are all equal and we all deserve love, acceptance and respect. We are more alike than different. This isn’t a story that is supposed to make “white people feel good”, its a story about how when we come together we are able to break those barriers and form intimate meaningful relationships. Its also the story of how breaking those boundaries can be difficult and this idea that Skeeter (the caucasian protagonist) is a hero isn’t completely accurate. Do we see her save anyone in the story? Does she keep Minny’s abusive husband away or keep Hilly from accusing Aibileen of stealing? NO. All Skeeter does is build a relationship with these women while using her gift of writing to give them a voice. This is the story of women coming together and impacting the world.

Whitney @Megan I’m sorry, but the reviewer is right. Skeeter is presented as almost singlehandedly solving racism. She gets rewarded for this with a better job at the end. Abileen and Minnie both have consequences for their actions and participation in this project (getting fired, leaving a husband and having to start over alone). The fact is just this is a very complex issue handled kind of poorly by an author who wrote the book with the protagonist being a bored but ambitious white lady who “saves the help” by listening to them and then profiting off of their stories and knowledge.

Tatiana It's been sooo long since I attempted to read this book that I can barely remember what it was about. Looks like I was as tired of the white savior narrative 8 years ago as I am now, but this novel is evidently still appealing to some readers. I didn't think anyone was reading it anymore.

Circe The comments on this stupid book. White savior book means the white lady is the protagonist and therefore steals the story, just like the author stole the story from her own maid. This book and it’s rampant popularity should inspire shame in white American hearts. That it doesn’t is damning.

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