Thursday, June 23, 2011
If you are like me and have somehow made it through the past year without reading this book, now is the time to fix that. I didn't know much about it going in - just that it was the story of some white women and their relationships with their black "help", set in the south during the 1960's. If you're interested in more details, you can read the publisher's blurb from Goodreads.
I was blown away by the writing. Honestly, because of the book's popularity, I feel like maybe I should find something to critique to show how literary I am, but I've come up empty. I was amazed that this is the author's first novel and I am convinced that any criticisms are based only on the fact that praising the writing of a popular book is "low-brow." Stockett writes a beautiful novel, full of rich detail and character, but not overly wordy. She has created a multitude of balanced characters, and narrates the book in three distinct, yet uniquely endearing voices. I thought she also did an amazing job of capturing the Southern voice and of showing multi-faceted characters - flawed yet still lovable (except for Hilly, but isn't she a great "love to hate her" character?)
Since this was my first foray into audio in several years outside of the Song of Ice and Fire books (and how could those ever be boring?) I was nervous about the book not holding my attention. I have absolutely no complaints, however. From the first chapter, I was enthralled. I usually take a nap or watch tv on my lunch breaks to give my mind a break, but I could not stop listening to The Help. I listened every second I could - in the car, when I didn't have students in the library, on my lunches, and while I sewed at night. I loved every word and cried my eyes out when it was over. Completely engrossing.
I highly recommend this one on audio. There are three readers - a different reader for each narrator - and I really enjoyed hearing completely unique voices. In a book with multiple narrators, it helped me keep track of who was speaking. Each reader does an amazing job. Their voices are beautiful and they capture the Southern accent well. If you're not used to audiobooks, this is a good one to start with.
Overall - highly recommend this book. Read it, listen to it, and go see the movie in August. I'll be there the day it comes out! This is definitely a must-read, must-listen-to, must-experience. It's completely worth it.
Posted by Julie G at 9:41 PM