I admit; it seems a trifle pointless to review this book now. I am obviously the last person in the whole wide world to read it. So I’m not going to tell you what it’s about. If you don’t know by now, I know of many candidates who wrote stellar reviews and, in fact, I’ll link to some in a bit. My main intent in actually doing so is to say that if you have put off reading this book because of the hype, ignore yourself and go read it anyway. Trust me. I put it off and put it off, thinking it CAN’T be as good as everyone is saying! I’m so silly, right? So many of my favorite bloggers had told me it was good. I read their reviews, like this one, and this one, oh, and THIS one and still, I didn’t read it. Then two things happened. One, Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog, who lately is convincing me to read all kinds of interesting stuff, posted her review and she sold me. And two, Lesley at Lesley’s Book Nook and my friend on Facebook, told me that the audio was excellent. She sold me on it again. Here is her review of the audio.
So I downloaded it from Audible.
And it is absolutely the best audio production of a book I think I have ever heard.
The story is told by multiple narrators and each voice gets its own reader. The publisher obviously took great care in who was picked to read for Minny, Aibileen and Skeeter and each reader was perfect for her part. Octavia Spencer was perfect for the cheeky Minny, I loved the way she acted her part. Minny was my favorite character, even though I loved them all. Jenna Lamia, the voice of Skeeter, provided just the right hit of hesitation, of uncertainty, to a character full of both. And Bahni Turpin, the voice of Aibileen, has a voice like warm honey, which I thought fit the nurturing, loving Aibileen to a tee. The added bonus of having Cassandra Campbell narrate the one section that is told in the third person was just perfection. She’s one of my favorite narrators ever.
As for the story itself, well. I’m Southern. I’m young, compared to the events in this book…I didn’t even exist yet. My parents didn’t even exist yet. But I have been around since 1978 and I can say I’ve seen the racism, the ridiculous persecution, and the indifference; which seems the cruelest of all. But I’ve also been a part of a Fortune 500 company that promoted its first black, woman to CEO last year. I work in the town where the sit-ins occurred and see that celebrated every year. I am surrounded by the history of this book and I rejoice that freedoms have been, and continue to be, established, celebrated, and honored. And The Help falls into line with the likes of To Kill a Mockingbird, to further the cause of equality and the end of racism in the 21st century.
So, like I said, if you’ve been holding off on reading The Help because of the hype, because you think you won’t like it or simply because you are ornery, do yourself a favor and get a copy. It. Is. Excellent. It is important. It is a must read. Just have your hankies ready, because that last chapter? It is a gut-wrencher. I was totally unprepared and was crying in my car on the way home from work.
Funny story: So, as I said, I’m from the South right? And though you’ve never heard me talk, let me tell you, my accent is very obvious. Very…pronounced. And while I was listening to this book? It was thicker that molasses going up hill in winter. I was getting LOOKS, people. Like, “Why the hell are you talking that way?” looks. I was very tempted to do a vlog of this book, just so you could hear me. Reason won out, however. I am a big chicken.
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Category: Historical Fiction, Southern
Published by: Penguin Group
On Sale: February 2009
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