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The Help

The Help

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Kathryn Stockett

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  • Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
  • Format: Hardback | 451 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 236mm x 41mm | 703g
  • Publication date: 10 February 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0399155341
  • ISBN 13: 9780399155345
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 12,822

Product description

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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Author information

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. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 07 Mar 2012 5

The Help is the first novel by Kathryn Stockett. Set in the early sixties in Jackson, Mississippi, the story is narrated in three voices: two black maids ("help") and a young white woman. Aibileen Clark is a wise Negro woman who has raised 17 white children, and lost a son of her own. She works for Elizabeth and Raleigh Leefolt and derives great joy from their Baby Girl, Mae Mobley, although she is under no illusion that this will last. Minny Jackson is a sassy young Negro with a talent for cooking who has trouble keeping her opinions to herself, a trait that has seen her fired from a great many positions. Her latest job is for newcomers, Celia and Johnny Foote, whom she hopes won't hear of her reputation; Celia, though, is too busy keeping her own secrets. Eugenia (Skeeter) Phelan has just graduated from college, where her Mama hoped she would find a husband, but Skeeter wants to be a writer much more than a wife. She misses her beloved Negro maid, Constantine, who has disappeared and no one will tell her where. When Skeeter's writing ambition crystallises into a book about the experiences of black maids in white households, Aibileen and Minny decide to become involved despite the enormous risk.
This novel touches on many topics, including racial segregation and civil rights and the relationship between Negro employees and their white employers. The feel of the sixties is beautifully evoked with the inclusion of many icons like the Pill, Valium, space exploration, ring pull cans, the Vietnam war, the introduction of Zip codes and sex before marriage. The characters are multifaceted and the dialogue is pitch-perfect. There is humour and heartache, cruelty and kindness, romance and suspense. We learn that revenge is sweet, especially in the form of Minny's Chocolate Pie. The prose is, on occasions, luminous: "If chocolate was a sound, it would've been Constantine's voice singing." The ultimate lesson is that the lines between black and white, between quality and trash, between employer and employee are not as definite as they might at first seem. And, as Aibileen says" Kindness don't have no boundaries". One of the dangers of reading a novel with so much hype is the very real possibility that the reader's expectations will be too high, and disappointment follows; the exception is, of course, when the novel lives up to the hype, as this one assuredly does. I loved this wonderful, moving story.

By Lyn Emanuel 17 Mar 2011 5

By Ms M 30 Sep 2010 5

I stumbled upon this book whilst browsing in my local secondhand bookshop. From the moment I read the first page, I could not put it down. Kathryn created such believable characters that took me through a journey of love, friendship and forgiveness. Even though its placed in the contemporary fiction genre - the facts and history surrounding it were/are real and true. A very emotionally charged and relevant book of the times. I agree that this book hasn't recieved the literally acclaim that it so deserves and I keep goggling Kathryn to find out if she is working on another book - if not at least a sequel to this fabulous one. Love it and highly recommend it. This definately one for the bookshelf - one to be re-read 10 years from now!!!

By Elena 13 Sep 2010 4

Set in the 1950's in Jackson, Mississippi, The Help deals with the lives of three very different women at a time when changes were threatening the "old values" people thought, ruled the world. However, Jackson does not seem able to change as the African-American help keeps raising most white children while, ironically, are despised by their employers for the colour of their skin.

With such a terrible background, Kathryn Stockett develops three main and very well- built characters, three strong and indepedent women, that will try to change their little town while they face all kind of feelings from their neighbours.

In my opinion, this is a great book, the first one that made me cry, that deserves more attention from both the general public and the critics. Not only deals with a very important issue of the American history (with constant references to Martin L. King and President Kennedy) but it also reminds the reader of the importance our will to change things no matter if a whole town thinks us wrong.

Review quote

?"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 oppo