Daily Archives: January 18, 2011

** The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The current string of so-so books is probably caused to my haphazard picking from the shelves as I wait for the library holds to come in. Relief should be on the way, for you as well as for me.

In any case, I found The Help to be a particularly challenging book to review, and occasionally to read. I was put off right from the start by the author’s choice to have the African-American maids of the story speak inĀ  rough dialect, even the one with a college education — and who ultimately writes a very fluent report of her life. I’ve complained about this before. But at the same time the story of a bigoted set of white Southern friends, their competent if ever-suffering African-American maids, and the rebel who will reveal all their secrets to the world is compelling, not so much for the contrast between the Civil Rights movement and the Southern traditions, which has been told many times before, although not, perhaps, from the point of view of ordinary women who lived through it, but for the layered characters, white and black, who live side by side but o so separately.

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