Discussion of "The Help"

Members of the forum choose and read a new book every month together, and then discuss it. You can nominate a book to be book of the month using the book's page on Bookshelves. Simply click the link that says 'Nominate for book of the month' on the left side of the book's Bookshelves page near the social sharing buttons. Don't be scared to nominate, as you can change your nomination to a different book if you think of something better.
Post Reply

How do you rate?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
No votes
2 stars - okay, fair
3 stars- good, recommend it
4 stars - excellent, amazing
Total votes: 71

User avatar
Posts: 188
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 10:37
Favorite Author: Sarah Woodbury
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Currently Reading: After Cilmeri Series
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-janiac02.html
Latest Review: "A Cold Wind" by C. J. Brightley
fav_author_id: 3314

Re: Discussion of "The Help"

Post by Janiac02 » 22 Mar 2015, 11:43

Dando wrote:I read The Help right before the movie was released and I enjoyed it very much. I did recommend it to some of my family and friends before the movie was being released. Then I saw the movie, reread the book, and started thinking critically and it became problematic for me.

I do agree with much of the criticism of this being a “white savior” book and I found it problematic that the white author took the voice of African American women and appropriates “black” dialect. I was especially struck by one criticism that I read that states “the structure of narratives like The Help underscores the failure of pop culture to acknowledge a central truth: Within the civil rights movement, white people were the help.” Many white Americans were actively involved in the civil rights movement; many even lost their lives in the struggle. However, it remains true that the real movers and shakers were African Americans and that white Americans maintained supportive ally roles.

I think this book could be harmless and entertaining if America had since reached greater racial equality and if white Americans had a better and more truthful understanding of the past and present experiences of oppression that continues to plague the African American community. Unfortunately, because these things have yet to be realized, trivializing these experiences does not help progress. I sympathize with the author’s emotional experience of growing up in Mississippi and her desire to share it. However, I must question her choice in a white savior heroine.
Thank you, I've been trying to formulate a response while reading through 5 pages of reviews, and this really hits the nail on the head. I read The Help a couple years ago and I loved it. My line of thinking veered toward the saying "any publicity is good publicity" in that I figured if this book (or movie) could open up a dialogue about race relations that must be a pretty good thing, right? Certainly I like Kathryn Stockett's style of writing (I put this book on my 4 star shelf just today, in fact).

It did not occur to me why this book might be offensive or harmful until now, these couple of years later. Sometimes it is difficult to put those thoughts into words. Thanks for your insightful comment.
Latest Review: "A Cold Wind" by C. J. Brightley

Posts: 29
Joined: 25 Mar 2015, 12:26
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... =2970">The Cuckoo's Calling</a>
Currently Reading: Farmer Beau's Farm
Bookshelf Size: 61
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-phillymom80.html

Post by Phillymom80 » 30 Mar 2015, 11:42

I loved this book, and also the movie, because the movie stayed true to the book in my opinion. But at the same time, it made me mad to see that the with all the changes that have happened over time, if u look at the issues brought up in the book, things really haven't chamged that much at all.. I definitly have recommended this books many times.

Posts: 60
Joined: 02 Apr 2015, 02:13
Currently Reading: The Silent Boy
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-steinhm.html
Latest Review: "The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris" by Evie Gaughan

Post by steinhm » 02 Apr 2015, 08:23

I loved this book so much. I thought it was hilarious, heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and poignant all at once. That's really hard to pull off but this did. Every character was perfect in their own way.

Skeeter and Minny were by far my favorite characters. Skeeter because she was determined to make a difference, to represent this women who had no voice, and acted civil for a time when it was unacceptable. I loved Minny because she provided amusement and a real glimpse into what life was life for African Americans in the south during that time in America.

It's not a proud history, it's something we'd rather not talk about, but I thought this book really gave you a chance to experience it while laughing, crying and the works. Absolutely loved it and would certainly recommend it.
Latest Review: "The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris" by Evie Gaughan

User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: 04 Apr 2015, 10:54
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-houseofshawna13.html

Post by houseofshawna13 » 04 Apr 2015, 12:27

I had the pleasure of listening to The Help as an audio book and was blown away by how powerful it was. First of all, Minny has to be one of the funniest characters I have ever read about and I would love to have met her in real life. This book seemed to be very genuine to me and spoke volumes about how all people who participated in civil rights had something to lose and most often did, as seen by Skeeter. I liked how the author really examined how important a social life was to these women, something pretty similar to society nowadays. I felt really deeply for the horrible relationship between Ms. Leefolt and Mae Mobley. It really showed how shallow that woman was and it was no surprise when Aibileen was fired because Miss Hilly ordered it to be done. The Help was amazing and was such a pleasure to read.

User avatar
Posts: 544
Joined: 28 Feb 2015, 09:21
Favorite Author: J.K. Rowling
Favorite Book: The Harry Potter series
Currently Reading: It and Mr. Mercedes
Bookshelf Size: 287
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jesska6029.html
Latest Review: "Texaners: Eight Short Stories" by T. F. Rhoden
fav_author_id: 1778

Post by Jesska6029 » 04 Apr 2015, 12:32

I really love this book. It's one that brings me to laugh out loud and cry every time I read it. I love the narrative switch, and getting to know the major characters. I feel like all of the characters are developed beautifully.
“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” ~J.K. Rowling
Latest Review: "Texaners: Eight Short Stories" by T. F. Rhoden

User avatar
Posts: 795
Joined: 30 Mar 2015, 13:22
Favorite Author: George Orwell
Bookshelf Size: 85
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tanaya.html
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham
fav_author_id: 1746

Post by Tanaya » 03 Aug 2015, 14:28

This is one book that I kinda feel...bad? about liking. I guess you could say it's a personal guilty pleasure of mine. The reasons why I would feel bad about it are redundant at this point in time, but the focus on a white protagonist and the diminished representation of black maids are common criticisms. Despite the critics, I can't help but enjoy the story, especially the friendship between Minnie and Celia!
Latest Review: "The Yoke" by Darrell Dunham

User avatar
Posts: 79
Joined: 25 Jun 2015, 07:54
Currently Reading: The Girl in the Spider's Web
Bookshelf Size: 69
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rizbi.html
Latest Review: "Patrick's Journey" by Roy T Humphreys
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Rizbi » 04 Aug 2015, 09:22

This was an average read for me. A good way to pass my time. Not so sure why, but there were some scenes in the book that felt forced to me – particularly the tearful ones. The characters are not that memorable to me either.

Maybe I was just not fully engaged with it the entire time.
Latest Review: "Patrick's Journey" by Roy T Humphreys

Posts: 363
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 19:41
Currently Reading: Freedom
Bookshelf Size: 24
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-amheiser.html
Latest Review: "Beginners only dance book" by Allen g darnel

Post by Amheiser » 27 Mar 2016, 22:50

I haven't read "The Help", but I recently saw the movie and I like the way the story was told. I would like to read the book sometime so I can compare it to the movie. A lot of times it's hard in a movie to show everything the way things actually happened and get a certain point across. I tend to get more involved in stories that I read than in the same story in movie form. I am curious to see how the characters are developed in the book. I think the characters in the movie told the story well and now that I have those characters in mind when I read the book, I hope I will still like the story.
Latest Review: "Beginners only dance book" by Allen g darnel

User avatar
Posts: 9
Joined: 02 Jun 2013, 13:49
Currently Reading: McDowell
Bookshelf Size: 12
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-triciaishappy.html

Post by triciaishappy » 20 Jun 2018, 11:53

The Help was an amazing book. It brought so many emotions to the forefront; anger, joy, excitement and laughter. This is one if those books that I read in one sitting. I just could not put it down. I rate this book 4 out of 4 because it was so well written. This is one if those books I will pick up and read again.

Post Reply

Return to “Book of the month”