ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett - a book review

Updated on December 31, 2011

I received "The Help" as a belated Christmas present last year, just as I was finishing another. great read. After I started it, I literally could not put it down (except for that pesky work thing.) Which is high praise. Ms. Stockett draws complex characters and does a stellar job of invoking southern black dialect along with the white pejorative lingual taxonomy that is critical to keeping things the way white folks want them kept. The story takes place during the racial unrest of the early 60's as 'Skeeter', a member of the white privileged citizenry of Jackson, returns to the bosom of her white family after graduating from 'Ol Miss. She is unmarried, unemployed and determined to make a mark in a world that has circumscribed how young southern ladies out to act and what they ought to want. Her mother, who has cancer, is eager to get her daughter married to a suitable provider.

Determined to be a writer, Skeeter finds employment writing the housekeeping advice column for the local newspaper. This position leaves her vastly underemployed and with the impossible task of answering questions about something she has never done. Housework. In search of simple answers, she interviews her friend's 'help' and crosses a chasm that will lead her to a larger project with bigger questions as she collaborates with the housekeeper of one of her life-long friends to write a story not about housework, but about the women who have cleaned up after the prominent southern families for decades if not centuries. We are introduced into a world where black women raise white children and know everything about their white families while the white women who employ them know next to nothing about the families of their 'help' nor do they care to. As Skeeter digs deeper into this project, she also uncovers the devastating secret of her beloved Constantine's disappearance from her family's home while she was away at 'Ol Miss.

Tension builds in Jackson when civil rights activist Medgar Evers is gunned down in his own driveway in full view of his children by a member of the White Citizens Council. Ms. Stockett captures this tension and weaves it into her story about the plucky young writer and the courageous black women who vow to tell their story regardless of the repercussions. Ms. Stockett also knows how to write the kind of interesting dialogue that plays out so well on the big screen. Now a major motion picture, "The Help" stars a relatively unknown cast lead by Emma Stone, with Viola Davis (primarily a stage actress), Octavia Spencer (Being John Malkovich), and Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life). It is also available in DVD and is well worth the Red Box rental price.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Just Pez profile image

      Just Pez 

      7 years ago from Portland, OR

      I thought this book was thoroughly fantastic, and I absolutely loved the movie!

    • BkCreative profile image


      7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Well, I just saw a promo two days ago for a movie version of the book. Just as you expected.

      I was recently given a copy of the book but haven't read it yet. But would before I saw the movie - which usually disappoints.

      Thanks for the review which reads better than any I've seen in the newspapers. Sometimes I think reviewers don't actually read the book. I had to call a reviewer on his comments about a book. Of course he didn't say he had not read the book but instead said he was just having fun with his comments (???). Suuuure.

      Rated up!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 

      7 years ago from Southeast USA

      I also was given a chance read this book. I could not put it down either. I grew up in Atlanta in the 60's and we did have a black housekeeper. I adored her. It was interesting to see the differences in how my parents treated her as a human being vs how the women int The Book were treated. Good writing!!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)