In The Help, Kathryn Stockett's button-pushing, soon to be wildly popular novel...the two principal maid characters...leap off the page in all their warm, three dimensional glory. Book groups armed with hankies will talk and talk.... [A] winning novel.
New York Times
Powerful.... [Stockett's] attention to historical detail, dialect and characterization create a beautiful portrait of a fragmenting world.... This heartbreaking story is a stunning debut from a gifted talent.
Atlanta Constitution Journal
Thought-provoking.... [Stockett's] pitch-perfect depiction of a country's gradual path toward integration will pull readers into a compelling story that doubles as a portrait of a country struggling with racial issues.... This is already one of the best debut novels of the year.
(Starred review.) Four peerless actors render an array of sharply defined black and white characters in the nascent years of the civil rights movement. They each handle a variety of Southern accents with aplomb and draw out the daily humiliation and pain the maids are subject to, as well as their abiding affection for their white charges. The actors handle the narration and dialogue so well that no character is ever stereotyped, the humor is always delightful, and the listener is led through the multilayered stories of maids and mistresses. The novel is a superb intertwining of personal and political history in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, but this reading gives it a deeper and fuller power.
Set in Stockett's native Jackson, MS, in the early 1960s, this first novel adopts the complicated theme of blacks and whites living in a segregated South. A century after the Emancipation Proclamation, black maids raised white children and ran households but were paid poorly, often had to use separate toilets from the family, and watched the children they cared for commit bigotry. In Stockett's narrative, Miss Skeeter, a young white woman, is a naive, aspiring writer who wants to create a series of interviews with local black maids. Even if they're published anonymously, the risk is great; still, Aibileen and Minny agree to participate. Tension pervades the novel as its events are told by these three memorable women. Is this an easy book to read? No, but it is surely worth reading. It may even stir things up as readers in Jackson and beyond question their own discrimination and intolerance in the past and present.
Rebecca Kelm - Library Journal
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