August 31, 2010

Review - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook)

It is 1962 in Mississippi in 1962, and the Jim Crow laws are very much alive. Aibileen is a black maid who has raised 17 white children throughout her years. She is very devoted to the little girl whose family she works for. Minny, Aibileen's friend, is another black maid who has trouble staying employed because of her sassy attitude. However, she is known as the best cook around. She finds work with a white woman who is new to town and has a desire to learn how to cook. Skeeter is a young white woman who has just moved home after college. She wants to become a writer, but so far her only experience has been as editor of the Women's League newsletter. Her mother would rather see Skeeter married than employed, however. Skeeter does find a job at the local newspaper, writing the cleaning advice column. She enlists the help of Aibileen because Skeeter has no actual cleaning experience. But this is not the only writing project Skeeter is undertaking. She has an idea for a book, but its subject matter is incredibly risky. The project's success will rest on the cooperation of the black maids, but they have plenty to lose if anyone finds out they are involved. Meanwhile, Skeeter continues to grow apart from her childhood best friends, Elizabeth and Hilly, who continue to support the Jim Crow laws and uphold the current social order. Will Skeeter finish her writing project? And what will happen if it actually gets published? 

The Help was an amazing audiobook. There were different narrators for Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, and they portrayed the southern accents and dialects well. The characters were very vivid, and their stories were moving. I was so engrossed in this book that I didn't want to get out of the car while I was listening to it, even after I arrived at my destination. While it deals with a lot of serious subject matter, there were also plenty of amusing moments (especially involving Minny). I am fascinated by stories about the Civil Rights movement, fictional or not. This is definitely one of my favorite books set in this time period. This is a thought-provoking novel that stayed with me well after I finished reading. I highly recommend this novel, but I also recommend that you check out the audiobook version for some excellent storytelling that will have you savoring every word. 

Rating: 5/5


kenpen said...

I loved this book too. Being from the south, it gave me lots to think about--my grandmother had help. I also loved the southern accents.

The Library Lurker said...

I've heard nothing but good things about this book! I don't generally do audiobooks, I find that I could read them much faster than having them read to me, but this one sounds wonderful! Great review!

ashley y said...

I loved The Help! It's definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Now I'm wishing I would have listened to it on audio!

Randi said...

OMG, I LOVED this book. Like I really cannot wait to listen to it again.

I am glad you liked it!

Kirsten G said...

Glad to see more buzz about this audiobook; our reviewer felt very much as you do about it being an incredible audio experience, so much so that it was awarded Earphones (you can see the review here).
I noticed that you signed up for Audiobook Community, but haven't seen you around - we'd love to have you come join discussions, feed your blog to your profile page, and explore everything going on over there; hope to see you soon!

Social Media Editor
AudioFile Magazine

Jennie said...

This book was amazing! I am so glad you found it as intriguing as I did!

Hyacinth Marius said...

This was a great piece of historical fiction! I enjoyed the multiple perspective narrative and the overall message. Kathryn Stockett has a wonderful voice.
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