Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: The Help

I recently finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was quite good. It wasn't the most powerful fictional text I've encountered but offers a nice insight to the life and times of "The Help" during the civil rights movement. The work itself kind of sugar coats what life was really like for the people living in the south at that time. I'm sure it was much more tumultuous. However, it's a work of fiction, not meant to document the life and times but instead provides a mood, a sense of danger and fear without actually describing the gritty details.
The characters are realistic, in general. Their personalities are well developed so you feel like you know each one and have a kinship or disdain for each one.
One thing that I find particularly interesting is the representation of the white women at this time. It's not earth shattering news how women can be catty, sneaky, conniving, brutal, and down right snobbish, but it is noteworthy to mention the power white women DID have during this time period. It also provides insight to the fears of women who went against the common way of thinking and the trials they had to go through to fight for a cause they believed in.
In my opinion the emotions this gentle, fictional version of the past stirs up are still the ones that would be felt reading a historical account of the time period. Adding the characters and personalities makes it more entertaining but also gives reader a connection to an issue that some might never have identified with but should. "The Help" does have a happy ending for the characters but the real people and the real issues that are touched on ever so gently continue to be fought and feared everyday.