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'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett - Book Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett

'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett


The Bottom Line

The Help, a first novel from Kathryn Stockett, is the story of a young white woman in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s and a group of black maids who work for the families of her friends. Stockett writes about the struggles the women face as they chafe against the written and unwritten rules that limit their lives.


  • 'The Help' avoids cliche with genuine emotion and nuanced characterizations.


  • There are elements of the story that seem forced, including some period-specific details.


  • 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett was published in February 2009.
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • 464 Pages

Guide Review - 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett - Book Review

Kathryn Stockett, who was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, was inspired by her close childhood relationship with her family's black maid to write The Help. Her debut novel tells the story of privileged families in Jackson and the black women who work as maids and nannies for the families but live in a separate part of town and are segregated from whites in so many ways.

One story is particularly moving; a woman whose own son was tragically killed in an accident lovingly dedicates herself to raising the children of the white families she works for. The close relationships formed between "the help" and these families is constantly contradicted by the enforced segregation and blatant racism on a society-wide and an individual level. The absurdity of the situation becomes clear to one young white woman who is used to defying society's expectations for her own role by yearning for a job in New York City rather than a husband.

The Help is told in the alternating narratives of the various women. The story is powerful because it doesn't get lost in big, sweeping points about the era but rather focuses on a nuanced portrait of individual characters, and of the horrors and blessings that come from these complicated racial relationships.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
, Member traceyrobinson

I think this is an important subject. For all of us that grew up during this time and those too young to remember. It shows how much things have changed, though we have a long way to go. It shows how predudice and ignorance hurts and affects peoples lives.

58 out of 64 people found this helpful.

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