The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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.

The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Category: Historical Fiction, Southern

Published by: Penguin Group
Format: Audio
On Sale: February 2009
ISBN: 9780143144182

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34 thoughts on “The Help by Kathryn Stockett

  1. You're not the last one to read it! I haven't…but then again I probably won't. I have no desire to read this book at all for some reason.

  2. Minny was my favorite character, too — for a hundred reasons, but mostly because of her sense of humor, courage and general sassiness! So glad you loved this one, too, and that it lived up to the hype! I'm usually afraid of books that generate buzz because, like you, I figure they can't be as awesome as everyone is saying. And sometimes they're not… but this was definitely not one of those times! 🙂
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Book review: ‘Get Lucky’ by Katherine Center =-.

    1. Minny was sassy!! It was my favorite part of her. The way the reader would say her backtalk lines? Made me crack up! And yes, it definitely lives up to the hype and more!

  3. I finished this one not that long ago (haven't reviewed yet) and I held off due to the hype also. And like you, I am sooo happy that I went against my initial reaction.

    I have heard such great things about the audio, I am tempted to listen to it as well.

    Funny about the accent!
    .-= christine´s last blog ..Firefly Rain – Review/Tour =-.

  4. I just read this (on audio) last month and I loved it too. Both the story and the audio narrators. It was so captivating. I kept coming up with excuses for how I could listen to it for a little longer. Like, I need to clean the house, so clearly you can see how desperate I was to keep reading! Thanks for the great review.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Book List: 3 Books That Intimidate You =-.

  5. For a review that didn't review a book you made a very favourable impression on me 🙂 I've been heard so much good stuff about this one but have yet to get around to it.
    .-= Fence´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday =-.

    1. I'm pretty picky about them too. I've noticed I have to either have a really excellent narrator or have read the book before. This has four excellent narrators!

  6. I didn't want to read this book either because I was on the fence. It made it all the better becuase this book is excellent. So anyone who really isn't interested I say go grab it becuase I think you will be surprised. Here's to hoping they do the book justice with the movie.

  7. You're not the last person to read this book – I haven't read it yet, and I lived in Mississippi in 1962. By the way, your post made me feel very old when you said your parents weren't around then! Yikes!

    I'm Southern and I don't have an accent at all. I think you should do a vlog.

    1. Ugh, I wasn't thinking Kathy. My parents were 2 and 3 years old in 1962, *face desk* At least, I think that's right. Anyway, they were very young!

      And you should read it! I think you would really enjoy it!

      And you kill me saying you don't have an accent. You SO have an accent! lol

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it! My library had it for download too, but the line was too long. I just couldn't wait. Once I decided to read it, I had to read it!

    1. Maybe it's because I listened to the audio, but I thought the accents sounded spot on. Of course, reading vernacular can be different than listening to it.

  8. I said y'all the other day for no reason (my mouth was feeling lazy, I guess) and my boyfriend looked at me askance, because I've never lived in the South. I think you Southern bloggers are influencing me. 😀

    I read this book (and loved it), but have heard such wonderful things about the audio. Unfortunately, I'm not a re-reader (or a re-listener).

  9. I can't get over how many people haven't read this book yet! Yes, it's been hyped to death, but it's truly one of those books (like The Book Thief) that deserves all the praise it's received. I'm so glad you wound up loving it as much as I did. Those readers were spot-on and will remain in my heart and mind for years to come. I only hope they do as well with the movie. I'm a little worried about that…

    Thanks for the link-love, girlfriend. And y'all can post a vlog anytime you like. I'd love to see it! 🙂
    .-= Les in NE´s last blog ..Birds of a Feather =-.

  10. Haha, use that accent to its full potential! When I was 14, I eradicated "y'all" from my vocabulary to appear less Southern. And now I've brought it back to promote my Southernness. I love living in NYC and saying I'm from Nashville. It always gets a "oooh, Nashville! What's that like???" instead of an "oh, you're from the Tri-state area."
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..A serious note on Nashville flooding =-.

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