05 February 2010

Featuring . . . The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This Friday and every Friday for the next couple of months, I will be featuring a book that was published under the Amy Einhorn Books imprint. I am starting with the 2009 books and will spotlight them in alphabetical order.

Who hasn't heard of The Help by Kathryn Stockett? It appeared on almost every top-ten list for 2009: bloggers, popular media, and print review sources, everyone loved the The Help.

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
If you are an audiobook fan (like I am), take note that the unabridged audio edition of The Help--read by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell--has gotten rave reviews. And I just discovered that Audible.com has a fifteen-minute interview with Stockett, free for members.

Here are some snippets from book blogger reviews (for more, see the link page for Amy Einhorn Books Perpetual Challenge reviews).
  • Rebecca at the Book Lady's Blog: "The Help is addictively, compulsively readable. I couldn’t put it down. Stockett’s debut is well-written, and it is clear that she really understands Southern life and has made great efforts to understand what life was like for black women who served white families."
  • Meghan at Medieval Bookworm: "This read comes highly recommended from me. The Help is a wonderful, well-paced, stunning novel from a new writer that I suspect will go far, and a brilliant beginning for a new literary imprint."
  • Sandy at You've GOTTA Read This!: "Stockett brings the characters to life, particularly Aibileen and Minny, with voices so real I can hear them in my head. I fell in love with these two ladies. They are warm, spiritual, flawed, courageous, and full of life."
Kathryn Stockett has a website, where you can find reviews, a biography, a reading guide, an excerpt, and more.

This book was featured as part of the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge (click to join the fun). For information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010.

The Help at Powell's
The Help at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780399155345


Nise' 2/5/10, 8:30 AM  

I should check this out on audio, I may get to it quicker than in print. It feels like I am one of the last ones to get to this raved about book!

bermudaonion 2/5/10, 8:31 AM  

I think I'm the only person in the world who hasn't read this.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 2/5/10, 8:47 AM  

Such a wonderful book. I don't reread, but this is one I can see me reading again.

Athira 2/5/10, 9:07 AM  

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, and finally after waiting months, I picked this book last night from the library! I can't wait to dive in!

Literate Housewife 2/5/10, 10:27 AM  

I can vouch for how wonderful the audiobook is for The Help. It was a great listening experience.

I'll be looking forward to the rest of your featured books. What an interesting challenge.

Jennifer from The Literate Housewife Review

Booksnyc 2/5/10, 10:48 AM  

Nise and Bermuda - you are not the only ones! I haven't read this yet either. But I am happy to say that a friend just gave me her copy and I will read it next month for book club - so happy to be getting to this much loved book!

Jenn's Bookshelves 2/5/10, 11:51 AM  

I have to admit I haven't read this one either! I'm taking your advice and will listen to the audio!

Sandy Nawrot 2/5/10, 1:06 PM  

Yes, I was sad that I did NOT listen to it on audio (because as you know I am an audio addict). But the prose is so vivid, I almost had an audio going on in my head while I read it. One of my favorites of 2009. I am amazed that the love for this book is almost viral.

Beth 2/5/10, 3:03 PM  

I really loved the Help. I think I passed my ARC onto half the women I know, and they all loved it too!

Bonnie 2/5/10, 5:58 PM  

This was definitely on my top list of favorite books that I read in 2009. A fabulous book, superb story. I just may listen to it on audiobook for a different experience.

Sharla 2/5/10, 6:19 PM  

The Help was one of my top favorite books of 2009. I loved the audiobook so much that I went out and bought the hardcover as well.

This is an excellent review!

Lisa 2/5/10, 9:59 PM  

I did read, and love this book. But I think a "re-read" on audio might be great.

Jenners 2/5/10, 10:54 PM  

Everyone seems to love this book ... I'm reading it this year as I feel it is a "must read."

The Bumbles 2/6/10, 12:02 AM  

Find me someone - ANYONE - who did not enjoy this book. It isn't hype. It's reality. That's why it is so good.

Meghan 2/6/10, 3:15 PM  

Thanks for the mention! I loved this book, I hope this challenge gets more people reading it. =)

Gayle 2/6/10, 9:31 PM  

This is eternally on my TBR list... always "next", and then I skip it. I tend to avoid books when they get really popular, but this one really seems to be universally loved. Ok... it's next! Really. I mean it this time.

Alice 2/7/10, 5:16 AM  

I so want this book and it's on my wish list for so long. Since my Kindle is coming soon, I have this on my Kindle wish list. :)

Melody 2/7/10, 8:48 PM  

I'm definitely putting this book onto my TBR list this year!!!

Gerbera Daisy Diaries 2/8/10, 5:57 PM  

I'm the only person out there that hated this book. Really, how can a white author credibly write about what it's like to be black "help?" And where is all the African American "love" for this book?? I don't hear it.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 2/9/10, 10:04 PM  

I was glad to see that BermudaOnion hasn't yet read this ... I thought I was the last one!

I lent my copy of THE HELP to a friend, and she has recently returned it. I'll be reading this for the Amy Einhorn challenge :)

Beth Kephart 2/13/10, 7:21 AM  

Tiptoeing in with, hmmmm.

I found the NPR interview with the author to be incredibly interesting...and telling.

Thoughts of Joy 2/21/10, 2:12 PM  

Oh yes! The Help - fabulous book!

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