Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Teen Review: Realistic and Historical

A review by M.G. Lewis

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a fictional adult novel (with no sequels or prequels) about racism in the 1960s. The 522-page book has a mature theme, but the writing has enough wit and character for most readers to follow. Because of this, as a ninth-grader, I would put The Help at an 8-12 grade reading level.

In The Help, the perspective changes character from chapter to chapter; the reader gets to see the story as it flows along from the eyes of a "colored" maid, Aibileen, a young white woman, Skeeter, and another maid, Minny, who happens to be Aibileen’s best friend. This book tells the compelling story of Skeeter, who wants to be a writer, and the process of her interviewing several maids to get their sides of the story, so to speak, about what it is like to be a black woman working for a white family. Along the way, the reader will hear the story of the oddball, bombshell white woman Minny works for, the loving relationship between Aibileen and the child of the family she works for, and the awkward, bumbling, but heated social and love life of Skeeter.

I personally loved the book, and fell in love with all three protagonists. You will laugh hysterically at Minny’s attitude, be able to relate to Miss Skeeter’s social awkwardness, and be warmed by Aibileen’s loving, motherly nature. Not to mention, The Help is an eye-opening, extremely accurate portrayal of how bad racism and discrimination were in the South in the 1960s. You will laugh and cry and wish there was more to read when you turn the last page. I would definitely recommend The Help to anyone; people who love books, people who love history, and people who just want to be entertained will fall in love with this book the way I did. Definitely on my list of Top Ten Books of All Time, I would give The Help a 5/5 rating.

Editor's note: We have the book, the audiobook, and the movie (which did a great job of portraying the book, for once!) available at Burbank Public Library.

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