jessica's Reviews > The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
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liked it

ive had unpopular opinions about books in the past, but when its about a story that covers very sensitive and important topics, i feel especially guilty.

i am not sure what it is exactly that rubbed me the wrong way, but i just couldnt fully support this book. the writing was fine and the characters are decent. but when a story discusses such heavy and often uncomfortable subjects, i want to feel strong emotions. but right now im only feeling mild concern.

and the question that keeps bothering me is, is this KSs story to tell? just because an author can write a story, does that mean they should? i think when it comes to telling a story that is inherently sensitive, much more consideration needs to be taken than usual. and i am starting to think KSs experience as a white woman may have unconsciously led her to stray from the story she was trying to achieve. this feels very full of racial stereotypes and i couldnt help but see skeeter as someone to be praised for her white-saviour complex.

i believe the intentions behind this story are good ones. i appreciate that themes like societal pressures, bullying, and job dissatisfaction are relevant to today. i also appreciate that this story has helped readers empathise with the struggle against racial inequality. but for being a story about ‘the help,’ this sure felt a lot like it was really about skeeter getting her dream job and all the drama in the white ladies debutante club.

i dunno. maybe im reading too much into this and im trying to be too politically correct when i really should have just enjoyed a good story. regardless, im still a little disappointed by this.

3 stars
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Reading Progress

April 20, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
April 20, 2020 – Shelved
Started Reading
May 12, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Inês (new)

Inês really valid points that i hadn’t considered until you presented them so eloquently :)

✨Kayla of The Court Of Dreams✨ This is an other case where I preferred the movie to the book as well

message 3: by Shinee'sBack! (new)

Shinee'sBack! I've only seen the film, which I thought was quite good, but I've heard the actress viola Davis regretted being in the movie because it pushed a 'white saviour' image. I haven't looked up any info on that though, so not sure how accurate it is.

message 4: by chris (new) - added it

chris here's the 2018 vanity fair article abt Viola Davis's regrets and about the lawsuit brought by the real life maid Ablene Cooper who worked for the Stocket family (the author) and didn't give permission to have her likeness copied into a book/film:

jessica ines - thank youuu! i appreciate that!

kaylanii - i havent seen the film, but sometimes certain narratives just work better in visual form. so i can understand how some would like this movie better.

alexandra - oh, interesting. i wonder why she felt that way only after being in the film. but im glad you enjoyed watching it!

chris - thank you for sharing the link to the article! such an interesting thing to read. i had no idea about the lawsuit!

message 6: by bucky (new)

bucky yeah i hate both this movie and the book because of how blatantly white saviory it is. it sucks because it could have been a genuinely good and important book but it just steamrolls right over the feelings of actual black women to make the white author feel better about herself.

jessica yeah, i hear you. i genuinely want to believe the author had good intentions for writing this and it does tell a story that needs to be told, im just not sure her experiences allow her to truthfully tell/write it, you know?

Seth Stringer I have to say I completely disagree. As a white man, I want to say that I have never owned a slave. And I wouldn’t have owned a slave if I lived back then. And I would clean my own house. It’s just the way I am. I have nothing to apologize for. I do not have white supremacy, I do not have better chances in life, and I am so upset to see so many white people “shame” themselves for their whiteness. It’s okay to be a white male, you can’t change it. This book is beautiful, and I enjoyed it immensely.

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