The Help

By Kathryn Stockett
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Putnam Adult, (2/10/2009)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.71 out of 5 (35 Clubie's ratings)


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Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
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February 2012


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updated on:7/8/2012

This was a great book!

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updated on:8/24/2010

LOVED IT!!

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updated on:7/25/2010



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updated on:7/7/2010

I loved this book.  I couldn't put it down.  A great read!

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Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:7/1/2010

Loved it....during the civil rights movement and the death of President Kennedy...set in Jackson, Mississippi. Very interesting to see how the lifestyle was in the 60's in the South.

 I am betting it will be on the best sellers list before too long...it was a great read...and I was correct. :)

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Claire's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:5/6/2010

Great book!

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E's Reads's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:1/20/2010

Absolutely loved this book!!! Maybe b/c I grew up in Alabama, but the characters were interesting as well as the social/racial climate of the time. 10/09

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JCape's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:1/18/2010

Has really stuck with me - it's been a while since I've been so fixated on getting through a book so quickly (but don't think it's JUST because I was hosting for this pick... ;) Looking forward to sharing it with more friends/family...

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RKU's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:1/6/2010

I really enjoyed this book. We have not had our discussion on it yet, but everyone who has read it loved it. Very real characters, great plot, funny, insightful- just great.

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updated on:1/4/2010



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Great Book! I would suggest it to the group.

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this book was awesome! I loved it and had a hard time putting it down.

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updated on:6/18/2009

I listened to the audio of this book and was so entertained. I loved it.

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updated on:6/14/2009



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Rosalie's thoughts on "The Help"
updated on:5/3/2009

This is a book everyone should read. It takes place in Jackson, Miss in 1964 during the height of segregation and intergration. This tells the story of the black housemaids and their interactions with the white women they work for. I highly recommend this book.

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"The Help"
By Kathryn Stockett

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.71 out of 5 (35 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

  • Who was your favorite character? Why?


  • What do you think motivated Hilly? On the one hand she is terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can’t control her. Yet she’s a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother but, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?


  • Like Hilly, Skeeter’s mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter— and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable; and most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter’s mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why?


  • How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?


  • Did it bother you that Skeeter is willing to overlook so many of Stuart’s faults so that she can get married, and that it’s not until he literally gets up and walks away that the engagement falls apart?


  • Do you believe that Minny was justified in her distrust of white people?


  • Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?


  • From the perspective of a twenty-first century reader, the hairshellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of “beauty” changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what’s the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent?


  • The author manages to paint Aibileen with a quiet grace and an aura of wisdom about her. How do you think she does this?


  • Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white?


  • What did you think about Minny’s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?

  • Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
    Have a good question? If your a clubie add one now.
     
     


    Review
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a story that made me weep as I rejoiced for each of humanity’s small but steady triumphs over hate and fear. I will never forget this wonderful book.”
    —Dorothea Benton Frank

    “A magical novel. Heartbreaking and oh so true, the voices of these characters, their lives and struggles will stay with you long after you reluctantly come to the end.”
    —Robert Hicks, New York Times– bestselling author of The Widow of the South

    “I love The Help. Kathryn Stockett has given us glorious characters and a powerful, truth-filled story. Abilene, Minny and Skeeter, show that people from this troubled time came together despite their differences and that ordinary women can be heroic.” 
    —Jill Conner Browne, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Sweet Potato Queens series and resident of Jackson, MS 

    “Set in the rural South of the 1960's, THE HELP is a startling, resonant portrait of the intertwined lives of women on opposite sides of the racial divide. Stockett's many gifts – a keen eye for character, a wicked sense of humor, the perfect timing of a natural born storyteller – shine as she evokes a time and place when black women were expected to help raise white babies, and yet could not use the same bathroom as their employers. Her characters, both white and black, are so fully fleshed they practically breathe – no stock villains or pious heroines here. I'm becoming an evangelist for The Help. Don't miss this wise and astonishing debut.” 
    –Joshilyn Jackson, Bestselling author of Gods in Alabama

    “A wonderful book. A compelling and comically poignant tale about three women, and a time and a place that is in many ways very much still with us.”
    —Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize– winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart

    “Lush, original, and poignant, Kathryn Stockett has written a wondrous novel. You will be swept away as they work, play, and love during a time when possibilities for women were few but their dreams of the future were limitless. A glorious read.” 
    —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of the Big Stone Gap series and Lucia, Lucia

    “Full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.”
    — PW starred review

    “This heartbreaking story is a stunning debut from a gifted talent.”
    — Atlanta Journal

    “It's graceful and real, a compulsively readable story of three women who watch the Mississippi ground shifting beneath their feet as the words of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Dylan pervade their genteel town. When folks at your book club wonder what to read next month, go on and pitch this wholly satisfying novel with confidence. A-“
    — Entertainment Weekly

    "[A] wise, poignant novel...You'll catch yourself cheering out loud." 
    People Magazine (3.5 out of 4 stars)

    "[A] story with heart and hope...A good old fashioned novel" 
    New York Daily News

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    Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in English and Creative Writing, she moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years. This is her first novel.


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