Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book Review - The Help

I finished The Help several weeks ago, but it occurred to me yesterday that I never did a review of it.

First, I learned that having (but not being) a maid is totally awesome.

Second, this is not a book I would have picked up by myself, but a friend was raving about it at the same time as my mother-in-law asked if I wanted to borrow it, so I decided to give it a try.  And I'm glad I did.

The story (which you probably know by now) is about the lives of maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s and one white woman who helps them write a book about their experiences.  In general, I'm suspicious of historical fiction.  Too often the main character comes off as an unrealistic goody two shoes because the author would rather have a protagonist that comes out on the right side of history rather than one that is actually interesting or believable.  I have no patience for characters who are purely good or purely bad.  That's a big reason why I thought Water for Elephants was terrible.

Amazingly, The Help is not like that.  The maids are not portrayed as completely selfless defenders of civil rights and the ladies of white society are not completely heartless racists.  I wasn't alive during the 1960s so I can't say for certain how realistic the story line was, but at least to me it was believable.  I thought the character development was good and there was enough drama to keep the plot moving along.  It was a long book, but I read it pretty quickly.  I'd recommend it to anyone who likes character driven novels and doesn't mind books that are "about" a controversial (at the time) issue.

Would you hire domestic help if you had the money?   
I really don't have a  problem with the idea as long as you treat the person you hire with respect and pay decently well.  I would totally hire someone to do heavy cleaning and other nasty household tasks if I had more money than time.

Last night's menu:
Simple stir fry courtesy of our meat CSA and Trader Joe's precut Asian veggie mix and General Tso's sauce.

I work out:
60min David Farmer yoga download podcast.  I always forget how hard holding my arms out in warrior two is after doing a million sun salutations.


  1. I would totally love to have someone clean my house on a weekly basis and sometimes cook dinner.

  2. i read (ok listened to) the help a while ago & loved it! i'm glad you liked it too. :) if i had the money and NEEDED help, i would probably hire someone. i don't have a problem with it. i think i'd be the person who cleaned before the cleaning person came over....

    i don't see myself having a large enough house or being too busy to clean (or having enough money) to hire help for a LONG time, if ever.

  3. J (morning runner)January 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I loved this book but I have not seen the movie yet. My MIL has a cleaning service and I know she cleans before they come! My aunt and uncle used to have a cleaning lady and she stole my uncles antique tea set! So I don't think I would ever hire someone to clean my house.