Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rereading The Help by Kathryn Stockett

August 1962: Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in Augustt, 1960. A church baby we like to call it. Taking care a white babies, that's what I do, along with all the cooking and cleaning. I done raised seventeen kids in my lifetime. I know how to get them babies to sleep, stop crying, and go in the toilet bowl before they mamas even get out a bed in the morning.

When I first read The Help, I loved it. Here is what I said in my original review: "This novel was a bestseller, and still is on the bestseller lists. It is set in Mississippi in 1962. "Skeeter", a white woman hoping to become a journalist, returns from for years at college to her hometown, only to find that her childhood companion and maid, Constantine, has mysteriously disappeared, and no one wants to tell her where Constantine is. She meets Abileen, a black maid, and Minnie, a sassy cook, and decides to write a book about the help and what they think of working for white people and their experiences. The Help has good storytelling and compelling, well-thought out, and unforgettable characters. It's also very difficult to put down. I just couldn't stop reading. Skeeter, Abileen, and Minnie each narrate different chapters, each with their own story to tell. All three of them are very human, memorable, and unique. They all have their own story tell. Abileen and Minnie are brave enough to tell their story. I loved this book, and would definitely recommend it."

On the second time around, it took a while for me to get into it, but once I was, I was swept up into the story just like last time. All the characters are so memorable. I think my favorite is Skeeter. She's smart and determined to do something other than marry. Aibileen (that's actually how it's spelled) is really moving too. She's trying to teach Mae Mobley what's right, while full well knowing that she could be fired for what she's saying. A page that really chilled me me to the bone was page 188 in Aibileen's section:

After while, my mind done drifted to where I wish it wouldn't. I reckon I know pretty well what would happen if the white ladies found out we was writing about them, telling the truth a what they really like. Womens, they ain't like men. A woman ain't gone beat you with a stick. Miss Hilly wouldn't pull no pistol on me. Miss Leefolt wouldn't come burn my house down. No, white womens like to keep they hands clean. They got a shiny little set a tools they use, sharp as witches' fingernails, tidy and laid out neat, like the picks on a dentist tray. They gone take they time with em. First thing a while lady gone do is fire you. You upset, but you figure you'll find another job, when things settle down, when the white lady get around to forgetting. You got a month a rent saved. People bring you squash casseroles. But then a week after you lost your job, you get this little yellow envelope stuck in your screen door. Paper inside say NOTICE OF EVICTION. Ever landlord in Jackson be white and ever one got a white wife that's friends with somebody. You start to panic some then. You still ain't got no job prospects. Everywhere you try, the door slams in your face. And now you ain't got a place to live. Then it starts to come a little faster. If you got a note on your car, they gone repossess it. If you got a parking ticket you ain't paid, you going to jail. If you got a daughter, maybe you go live with her. She tend to a white family a her own. But a few days later she come home, say, "Mama? I just got fired." She look hurt, scared. She don't understand why. You got to tell her it's cause a you. Least her husband still working. Least they can feed the baby.Then they fire her husband. Just another little sharp tool, shiny and fine.They both point at you, crying, wondering why you done it. You can't even remember why. Weeks pass and nothing, no jobs, no money, no house. You hope this is the end of it, that she done enough, she ready to forget. It'll be a knock on the door late at night. It won't be the white lady at the door. She don't do that kind a thing herself. But while the nightmare's happening, the burning or the cutting or the beating, you realize something you know all your life: the white lady don't ever forget. And she ain't gone stop until you dead. (pgs. 187-188.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
I could feel my blood boiling and chilling at the same time when I read that. And Hilly Holbrook-oh, how I loathe her. She's the woman in the book who is pushing the Home Health Sanitation initiative, requiring every white home to have a separate bathroom in the back for the help.

Hilly Holbrook introduces the Home Help Sanitation Initiative. A disease preventative measure. Low-cost bathroom installation in your garage or shed, for homes without such an important fixture.
Ladies, did you know that:
  • 99% of all colored diseases are carried in the urine
  • Whites can become permanently disabled by nearly all of these diseases because we lack immunities coloreds carry in their darker pigmentation
  • Some germs carried by whites can also be harmful to coloreds too
Protect yourself. Protect your children. Protect your help.
From the Holbrooks, we say, You're welcome! (257)
She certainly gets what she deserves from Minny.

Read The Help:
  • if you like fiction set in the Deep South
  • if you like historical fiction
  • if you like fiction set in the Civil Rights period
  • if you saw and liked the movie
444 pages. 
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!


  1. I really need to read that... I LOVED the movie, and the excerpt was... wow.

  2. Like so many others, I couldn't put this book down! One of the best reads I've had in a long time! I highly recommend it!
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