What can I really say about The Help that hasn’t already been said? I mean, look at the Goodreads statistics. As I’m writing this, the book has 1,103,394 ratings and 70,412 reviews. It has an average of 4.44 stars. This is a book that nearly everybody adores. (And when they don’t adore it, they absolutely hate it.)
I’m usually a little bit afraid to read books when they get so much hype. I put the book up on a pedestal, and then I’m usually disappointed. It’s happened with a number of best sellers that I guess I just didn’t quite “get.” So when one of my coworkers gave me this book a few months ago, it sat on my bookshelf waiting for an opportunity to be read. Waiting for me to finish my advance copies. Waiting for me to finish the series I was reading. Waiting for me to find an excuse to read it.
That excuse came in the form of a much-delayed flight. I’d thrown The Help in my suitcase as a sort of “just in case” book. I hadn’t really expected to read it, but my flight was delayed by a half hour, then an hour, then two hours, and I had to do something to occupy my time. I heavily sighed, bought a cup of coffee, and powered through this book in a couple hours.
(Coincidentally, the same thing happened with Room, which I also read in an airport at the peak of its popularity, and really enjoyed.)
I was surprised at how easy it was to read The Help. It flows so easily from one chapter to the next, from one character to the next. It’s a difficult topic – civil rights in 1960’s Mississippi – but it never feels heavy. Stockett seems to effortlessly get her point across without hammering it over the reader’s head. I laughed, I teared up, and I really, really enjoyed this book.
Final rating: ★★★★★