Amateurish, May 5, 2010
Thank you, fellow two-star giving reviewers! I thought I was the only one who was disappointed and irritated by this amateurish book. Let me see if I can assemble all my reasons together.
Reason #1: I agree that the dialect was "off" for both black and white.
Reason #2: Historical inaccuracies. In the afterword, the author admits to using "The Times the are A-Changing" and "Shake-n-Bake" anachronistically, but there are so many more examples. The book is set in 1960-1964, which are not the Hippie Sixties, but rather then tail-end of how we imagine the Fifties. Yet people in this small southern town reference hippie culture, and that just jarred.
Reason #3: Un-subtle use of historical events. Even the historical events that did happen during this time period were used like a bludgeon to reinforce the author's intention to depict change. I think that's probably why she moved some of the late 60s stuff forward. But as a fan of Mad Men, I know that it is possible to weave history into plot in more subtle, authentic ways. I also have a pet peeve about the way Rosa Parks and MLK Jr and Medgar Evers were pretty much the only people mentioned in terms of civil rights action. Yes, they played significant roles, but Rosa Parks was not the first or only person to protest bus laws. And she didn't do it as a spur of the moment heroic thing. She was part of a much wider, very organized network of activists. I got little sense of this network in Stockett's portrayal of the black community.
Reason #4: I agree with others that Skeeter was an obvious stand-in for the author. How convenient that she was so beloved by the black community. If you read the Afterward it is obvious that the author is seeking wish-fulfillment.
Reason #5: Skeeter is a crappy protagonist. And there's that stupid trope of the ungainly unpopular chick who gets the hot guy to love her because she's a writer! More wish-fulfillment.
Reason #6: Barely-there characterization.
Reason #7: The pie thing *is* SO DUMB and unbelievable.
Reason #8: Lots of telling, not showing.
So why 2 stars and not 1? Because I feel that the author was well-intentioned, and she actually made me shed a tear at one point because of empathy for a character.
A Must Read!, May 4, 2010
The Help was a real page turner. I laughted and cried while reading this book and have known people like all of the characters in the story. I could really relate to them and their struggles which are prevalent in society today to a certain extent.
great book, May 4, 2010
good read. not wordy. good story.
enjoyable and interesting. makes you rethink your thoughts and actions towards others.
Can't stop thinking about this one!, May 4, 2010
Even though I read this book nearly a year ago, it's one I just can't forget. Like so many readers before me, I just didn't want this book to end. I was worried I would forget the characters once I began a new novel, but not so. I miss the characters as if they had become my friends, but everyone's stories are permanently engrained (even in my tired head!). Sometimes sad, but always with humor, I found myself laughing out loud & nearly crying at times from start to finish. If you're hear wondering if you should buy it, don't hesitate. It's one that should be loaned & returned to your book shelf time & time again. It truly is a modern day classic.