Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
You know the overview. You saw the movie. Or at least the trailer. Or at least Billie Crystal’s opening number at the Oscar’s. You didn’t? You’re lucky.
Knowing what people are talking about when they say The Pie. Actually, strike that, skip this section, and see below. But before you do, I guess I should recognize, at least passingly, that I’m in a charmed position of arriving horribly late to this particular party. It’s easy to seize on the watered down punch, the tired pop playlist, and the usual-suspects guest list when you’re walking in at last call. I appreciate that it’s all so easy for me to say, but still: the punch is watery, the playlist is tired, and the guest list is boring.
The Accents. I generally hate reading an accent. It never reads the way it’s supposed to and becomes cloying after about two paragraphs.
The Ham-fistedness. The accents tie a lot in to this. But that’s just the Little Ham Fist. There’s still the other ham fist; the Plotline Ham Fist. The plot spring was coiling from page one. Was the one chick going to find out about the pie? What was in the pie? Would the other chick’s Baby Girl ever respect her? Yes. Poop. No. We get it. Then there’s the otherotherham fist, the big ham fist: The Civil Rights Ham Fist.
The Trip Back to Well. Did we really need another book about race relations in mid-century America? Did anyone really wonder how Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny were going to remain so tight after the book came out? Did they? They didn’t.
The pie. I just. Can’t.
OVERALL IMPACT ON MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
Deflating. I of course am happy about the themes of the book. It’s great that Skeeter’s hard work paid off. It’s great that Aibileen’s hard work allowed her another opportunity to work hard. It’s great that Minny . . . um . . . survived the story? See what I mean? There were good, buoyant things that transpired, but the way they happened and the overwrought way Stockett choked the life out of them were totally dissatisfying.