Sunday, April 7, 2013
Review: The Help
Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Listening Time: 18 Hours and 19 Minutes
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I am probably the last person on the planet earth that has not read this book. I can remember when it came out and saying, "I'm going to read that!" I can remember when the movie came out and saying "I'm going to read that now!" Neither time did I actually sit down and read it. I always had an excuse. I had other books to read. It had so much hype would it be as good as everyone said. It was too many pages. I don't know. I just didn't read it.
When I saw it was available from the library to listen to on audio, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'd heard good things about the audio, and I was willing to try it out and see what I thought. This was probably, by far, the best audio I have ever listened to in my entire life. And I'm not saying that lightly. I loved, loved, loved the fact that the chapters alternated between readers, giving each character their own seperate voice. I don't think reading this book on paper would have done it as much justice as these readers gave it. It was amazing!
My favorite character was Skeeter. Skeeter was read by Jenna Lamia. I will now be hunting down every book she has ever read for and giving it a listen. She was fabulous. She gave the perfect voice to Skeeter. Just hesitant enough, just a little unsure of herself. It was perfect. I don't think I've ever seen a narrator fit a character so well.
The story itself also blew me away. I listened to this audio in two days, even at almost 20 hours, because I couldn't stop. It was just that good. I had to know what happened next. I had to know what happened to the maids. I had to know what was so darn awful that Minnie had done to Miss Hilly Holbrook.
I would recommend this book to everyone who hasn't read it. Ignore the hype, ignore the fact that you think you won't like it. Go out and get this audio and give it a listen. You absolutely will not be disappointed!