The Help by Kathryn Stockett

82%

66 Critic Reviews

With its intimate portrayals of the maids’ relationships with their employers and the children they care for, “The Help” appeals to readers who feel they are getting a behind-the-scenes peek into a dark period in the country’s history.
-NY Times

Synopsis


Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town...
 

About Kathryn Stockett

See more books from this Author
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 their daughter. This is her first novel.
 
Published January 1, 2009 by Berkley Books. 530 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Erotica, Science & Math. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 19 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Help
All: 66 | Positive: 59 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

This genuine page-turner offers a whiff of white liberal self-congratulation that won’t hurt its appeal and probably spells big success.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 01 2008

...bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Motoko Rich on Nov 02 2009

With its intimate portrayals of the maids’ relationships with their employers and the children they care for, “The Help” appeals to readers who feel they are getting a behind-the-scenes peek into a dark period in the country’s history.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 18 2009

Expectations notwithstanding, it’s not the black maids who are done a disservice by this white writer; it’s the white folk. The two principal maid characters, the lovingly maternal Aibileen and the angry, scrappy Minny, leap off the page in all their warm, three-dimensional glory.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by nellie999 on Sep 30 2014

I really enjoyed this book, it was a really great read and I loved how it showed you the world at the time through three people's eyes...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by AmySharps on Sep 19 2013

Kathryn Stockett manages to merge fact and fiction perfectly, exploring different emotions ranging from sadness to happiness - sometimes all in the same paragraph. Stockett has not only written an unforgettable, at times humorous and all-round brilliant story; this is also an informative masterpiece...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by NewYorkGirl on Jan 14 2012

It's definitely a hard subject to write about and we see that from both Kathryn Stockett's and Skeeter's writing. The Help changed the lives of the women in the book and I feel as if somehow it changed my life too.

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Guardian

Excellent
Jan 14 2012

the characters were well built and the plot was very intriguing...The Help really is a special book and I encourage anyone and everyone to check it out.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Nov 12 2011

I would recommend The Help for a book club or reading group. The style is interesting and while a bit difficult at the beginning, once you understand the technique the story evolves and takes you to that time and place in history.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Leslie Wright on Nov 12 2011

The humor is real, but the pain and angst also weave their way into the fray. The characters are gutsy and bold, pulling you in, and earning your respect. A great book for your library.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by kelseyrae on Oct 13 2011

I recommend reading this incredible novel as well as seeing the movie after. Stockett is a wonderful new writer who I hope will continue to write. I would love to read more of her work.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Kelsey Rae on Oct 13 2011

an emotionally driven novel with exceptional characters, and an outstanding plot that centers on intense segregation issues.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by KJ on Sep 05 2011

I want people to know that yes it’s a good read and no, I don’t like it. I LOVE it.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Regis Schilken on Mar 21 2010

Her tale is not easily forgotten. It should not be. It is an emotional ride, at times filled with disgust, hatred, sorrow; but then relief, joy, and a small dose of happiness as its God-spirited characters develop strength to live on in spite of ego-shattering bigotry. The Help will stay with you. It will not disappoint.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by JoAn Watson Martin on Jan 27 2014

The Help is the kind of book impossible to stop reading. The tension mounts as the maids who participated in the interviews with Skeeter, watch and wait for the white ladies to identify the fictitious names and fire the maids.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by NICOLE LANGAN on Sep 30 2014

This is book is built on so many levels. It's not fluff, but exhibits a profound depth. The secondary characters are just as well-developed as the primary cast.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Alison Peek on Apr 19 2014

Once I finally picked it up, I never put it down. It may not be on the same literary level as To Kill a Mockingbird, but its message is strong and vital to a society that must live together in order to survive.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Grace Yang on Mar 20 2012

For anyone wanting an inspiring and down to earth narrative of what is was like to be an African American in the Civil Rights era, "The Help" is a great read.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Lisa Westerfield on May 31 2011

I wish that Stockett hadn’t cheapened this character’s hostility by making it so that she lacked compassion for a fellow maid in prison. Overall, I really enjoyed ‘The Help’, which is now in paperback. I think it is a meatier summer read, but not overtly heavy for reading out by the pool.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Karen Valby on Feb 11 2009

Stockett jumps effortlessly between her women’s voices. She has created a world ?of memorable supporting characters — from the bitch ?in the Junior League to Skeeter’s oilman suitor — to? surround them.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Sybil Steinberg on Apr 01 2009

a nuanced variation on the theme that strikes every note with authenticity. In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by David Evans on Nov 13 2011

I find Stockett's treatment of the white employers... troubling... The problem with such simplistic characterisation is that it puts the reader in too comfortable a position.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Toby Clements on Jul 24 2009

Each of the many relationships between the large cast of characters is perfectly captured, and there is layer after layer of irony to excavate when Stockett describes the lives of the society women of Jackson.

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Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Sep 05 2010

A book driven by guilt could have been mawkish, but Stockett’s ear for both outrage and humor and her earnest efforts to correct stereotypes pay off – despite her decision to convey only black voices in dialect, with nary a dropped “g” among her generally less sympathetic Southern white characters.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Mar 04 2009

Her pitch-perfect depiction of a country's gradual path toward integration will pull readers into a compelling story that doubles as a portrait of a country struggling with racial issues.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by Ilana Teitelbaum on Aug 09 2011

The Help is most fascinating when it gives us intimate insights into an era and milieu, recounted in the vivid language of the characters. Aibileen's depiction of white women's revenge, delicately pulling societal strings to trap their victims, is a set piece of hypnotic narrative...

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by Jen K. on Jun 01 2010

I definitely enjoyed the novel but part of me also wonders what a black author might have written -- after all, two of the main characters are black but the author is still a white woman.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
on Feb 02 2015

The Help is told in the alternating narratives of the various women. The story is powerful because it doesn't get lost in big, sweeping points about the era but rather focuses on a nuanced portrait of individual characters...

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The Best Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on Dec 29 2008

This is Kathryn Stockett's first novel, a brilliant, potent celebration of astonishing and noteworthy hope for light to surmount darkness, be it in a person's color or behavior! The Help is a wonder to behold and cherish!

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BlogHer

Good
Reviewed by leahmsilverman on Mar 09 2013

This left me feeling inspired, and wanting to be the later type of good person. Which is perfect, because they other thing that struck me about this book is that many of its themes are still relevant today, all these years after the Civil Rights Movement.

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Kings River Life

Excellent
Reviewed by Amanda Hager on Sep 24 2011

Stockett has written a truly powerful book that puts you in the scene with the characters as if they were you. USA Today has a quote in the first couple of pages of the book saying, “You can’t stop reading until you’ve devoured the last word…” and I couldn’t agree more.

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Annenberg Digital News

Above average
Reviewed by Laura Santana on Feb 26 2012

The book weaves through Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny’s point-of-views. When authors switch point-of-view like this, they risk readers getting confused or their writing sounding choppy or incomplete. But Stockett switches at just the right time and still manages to develop each character to make them truly likeable.

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St. Cloud Visitor

Good
Reviewed by Ann Jonas on Jan 27 2014

Stockett writes with feeling and compassion. The Help is a well-written novel, with realistic characters that will tear at your heart and then make you chuckle.

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Australian Women Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Tania McCartney on Jun 22 2009

While The Help’s tightly woven plot and sub-characters are addictive, well-placed and totally believable, it’s the three main characters that will have you breathless.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Dove123 on Jan 27 2014

This is a rare type of book to come across, if you ask me, but it also a striking and unforgettable book to any reader as well. 444 pages of honest human life.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Zoe_T, on Jan 27 2014

A powerful draw for people of all ages, this is a story no one can put down. All in all, The Help is a thrilling book to stick on your “must read” shelf.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Clarcy C. on Jan 27 2014

If you read only one book this year, make it this poignant novel. With its mix of comical and strikingly serious themes, it leaves readers wanting to delve deeper.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Caroline S. on Jan 27 2014

The Help is truly a masterpiece. After reading it, you have to think about the subjects that are discussed in it. Even though this book is directed towards adults, I would suggest teens to read it also, as it is not one to miss.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Jan 03 2010

Though this book is a sad one that tackles some difficult subjects, it’s always full of hope. It’s not a book that weighs the reader down or is hard to read. It’s long, but the pages fly by as the reader gets more and more involved in the stories of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny...

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Fyrefly's Book Blog

Good
on Jan 18 2012

Racial issues form the core of this book, and while they’re not something on which I feel particularly qualified to speak, I did appreciate Stockett bringing to light a side of our history and culture that I had never before considered.

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Story Snoops

Good
on Feb 04 2015

This easy read is a compelling crowd pleaser with depth. It is rich with discussion material about racism, sexism, friendship, hope, and doing the right thing...

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Reading Lark

Excellent
Reviewed by Andrea on Feb 13 2011

The Help reads like the craft of a well seasoned literary veteran, but I was shocked to learn that it was actually Kathyrn Stockett's first novel. I hope to see many more titles by this author in the future.

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by Christina on Aug 28 2011

There is a lot of gossip and betrayal and backbiting in this book. It's irresistible reading material. And at the same time, I felt I was learning about something important that I don't consider often enough- Segregation. The Help made it seem like it didn't happen so long ago after all, despite how far we've come since the 60's.

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Literate Housewife

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer on Jan 15 2010

There were times where I was exasperated by Skeeter...She’s using Aibileen, Minnie, and the others for her own gain...Still, Skeeter has a good heart and is not any more self-centered than any other recent college graduate. For me, I will forever keep the character of Aibileen in my heart. She is who made The Help for me.

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Popcorn Reads

Above average
Reviewed by MK on Jan 27 2014

My mixed feelings about The Help stem completely from my desire to see any story like this one be as authentic as possible. I have no doubt that the author had the best of intentions with this novel, and it is the kind of story that needs to be told.

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Confessions of a Book Addict

Good
Reviewed by Christina on Dec 19 2011

The three character's stories are interwoven magically and Kathryn Stockett's The Help with have readers begging for more.

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Reading on a Rainy Day

Good
Reviewed by Athira on Feb 20 2010

Overall, this is a great book, in my opinion. The characters, the place, the events, all feel very real. And as I read the book, I couldn't help but vociferously celebrate the small successes of the human spirit, and cry in disgust at all the prejudices flying around.

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At Home With Books

Good
Reviewed by Alyce on Feb 12 2009

I recommend this book to everyone. I can’t praise it enough! It is an amazing story... I’m sure this will be one of my top books of 2009.

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Early Nerd Special

Good
Reviewed by Clementine Bojangles on Jul 23 2010

While each person will have their own interpretation of the book and its purpose in the popular literary cannon, this reader is simply glad that–in an age where close to 50% of college graduates never read a book after completing their degree–a book is being discussed at all.

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Prolific Living

Good
on Feb 05 2015

The three of them take turns in telling us the stories: the idealistic Skeeter, the kind-hearted Aibileen and feisty Minny and you are lucky if you can put this down longer than a few hours at a time.

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Literary Corner Cafe Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Literary Corner Cafe on Oct 23 2010

The Help is a book that could have made so many missteps, a book that walked a very fine line without ever once crossing it. It’s a marvelous achievement, and one that’s truly original, enriching, and life affirming. If you’re like me, you won’t want this book to end.

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A Novel Menagerie

Excellent
Reviewed by Sheri on Apr 03 2009

...this novel is an epic tale with wisdom, dignity and truth knitted throughout it. Kathryn Stockett has written a story that encompasses your heart and yet forces to you face some very pure and real truths about the human condition and what our beloved country has experienced.

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Escape in a Book

Above average
Reviewed by Mari on Aug 28 2010

I enjoy reading books that can teach me new things, I'm the kind of person that will Google historical happenings from books to find out more about them.

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BooksPlease

Good
Jan 31 2012

It’s touching, poignant, funny, compelling and definitely thought-provoking. It’s a book that has stayed in my mind ever since reading it.

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A Separate State of Mind Blog

Good
Reviewed by Elie on Dec 08 2011

The Help is kind. The Help is smart. The Help is important... All of this is exposed... in three-dimensional glory.

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Hungry like the Woolf

Below average
on Feb 20 2010

The occasional well-wrought sentence does not make wading through some of the very poorly written sentences worth the slog. Then there is the fact that almost all of the characters pause at….odd times. And every pause is captured. I could barely stand it after awhile.

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The Garfield Book Review

Good
Apr 02 2012

The book was not only marginally better than the movie, it was gripping in a way the film version was not...Bottom line, The Help is a very good story.

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A Girl, Books and Other Things

Above average
Reviewed by Alex on Jul 20 2011

The Help is an interesting story, I'm not ready to say it's an instant classic or anything of the sort. But it was a good story, I really liked listening to it, though I don't see myself re-reading it soon, there were magic moments in the story telling that make it worth the long while that it took me to get through it.

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Hello Giggles

Good
Reviewed by Lindsey Silken on May 20 2012

Of course the book is fiction, but Stockett is from Jackson, Mississippi, and the book reads with authenticity. It also moves very quickly, with lots of visual detail and cinematic drama.

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Confessions of a Bibliophile

Good
Reviewed by CAEDMONERIES on Jan 29 2012

This story is very strong and very touching and well written. I love the fact that the style complements the plot, it makes for a fantastic read. The grammatically incorrect pose is something that makes the novel all the more real, all the more honest in its delivery.

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Bunbury in the Stacks

Good
Reviewed by Heidi on Apr 11 2012

Mostly I just want to accentuate the fact that even though this wasn’t a book I would normally have picked up, I am so glad I did–I loved it.

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JeriWB Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Jeri Walker-Bickett on Jan 04 2012

The Help needs help... I was struck by the emptiness of the characters...The dialect is akin to nails on a chalkboard... Historical inaccuracies abound... it should be used to teach what mistakes to avoid when writing a book.

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BELLA'S BOOKSHELVES

Excellent
Reviewed by Steph on Feb 17 2015

Not once did I feel a lag in the book, not once did I feel it needed better editing. Not once did I raise my eyebrow or sigh with disappointment. Instead I fist-pumped the air, I swallowed lumps in my throat, I raged against injustice, I laughed aloud.

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Simple Wyrdings

Good
on Jan 06 2012

In any case if you want know how things were in the south back in the 1960s this book seems to be pretty accurate. And even if it wasn’t it is still a danged good story. Makes you wish you could know the characters.

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Literary Chronicles Blog

Good
Reviewed by Kiprop Kimutai on Jan 21 2012

a book written without complication or any intent towards literary flair. Its simple and straightforward language is what makes it powerful

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Love on the Run Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Melissa on Feb 07 2012

While the plot and protagonists took hold of my curiosity, I couldn’t help but feel conflicted while reading The Help... Stockett writes with good intentions, but the fact remains that Aibileen and Minny’s first person narrative is constructed from a white woman’s perspective.

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Reader Rating for The Help
88%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 46909 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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