While it wasn't always page-turning, it engaged me completely. I loved the interesting perspectives, the harsh historical details, and the completely foreign setting. I loved rooting for the good guys. Parts were absolutely heart-rending, especially the pain these maids faced, practically raising white kids, loving them, but all the while waiting until they turn into their prejudiced mothers and fathers.
Some people have complained that the book misrepresents the time, the area, the people. I'm not from the South, so I don't know. I grew up in a small town in Arizona, where I was never aware of much White-Black tension, though maybe I was just naïve. I also wasn't born until a while after the sixties. So I'm not really qualified to speak to the matter, but I feel that it was handled well. Neither the maids nor their employers in The Help were all saint or sinner. And while the situation in Jackson (and other places) was ugly in the 60s, I don't think it's something we should ignore. Prejudice and bigotry are by no means dead, and the more empathy we can have with each other, regardless of race, social position, politics, gender, nationality, sexuality, religion, lifestyle, etc., etc., the better.
As for the dialect, that's been called racist too, especially since the Whites didn't drawl on paper. I'm really sorry if people took it that way, but I thought it was really well done. It wasn't distracting and hard to decipher, as I find much dialect in writing. I could really hear the characters' voices.
I watched the movie after the book. While it's a good movie, it can't compare to the book (of course, what movie can?).
Great premise. Great details. Great writing. Great job, Kathryn Stockett.
My rating: 5
My rating: 5
Click here to buy The Help.
Click here to learn more about Kathryn Stockett