Books · Reviews · Writing

SRP Review — The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

Now on to the review:  

The Help is filled with women from two different ‘stations’ in life who are becoming self-rescuing princesses. Each women have grown up in a time where the color of a person’s skin determined their worth, and these women are discovering that there is more to being a good person than continuing behavior taught to you. And defending yourself isn’t always a sign that one doesn’t have manners. There is a time to stand up for yourself–and others. The Help shows strong women coming to that point during a period in history when doing so put a person’s life in danger. There are some wonderful tender moments that I’d like to mention but won’t so I don’t spoil the book for anyone.

The character that drew me in the most was Minny. There are some situations in her life that might make someone think she isn’t a self-rescue princess, but Minny never acts or feels like a victim. For her, that was the way the world worked for someone of her race and yet Minny never gave up. She was herself, showing restraint at times in order to ensure she’d have a job as a maid to take care for her family. She does put with verbal and physical abuse from people, but she doesn’t allow it to define her or overcome her. What I found truly amazing about Minny was that she was able to care (love) someone that she expected to hate. Minny fought her instinct to judge based on past experiences and see someone for who they truly were.

Miss Aibileen felt like the heart of the book. Aibileen was a woman who always encouraged, always loved, even knowing that in the future that love would be overlooked or ignored once a child grew up. While she was concerned about herself, her greatest worries were for her friends, family and the young children she worked with. Her compassion was always on the surface.  

Miss Skeeter took a look at the way her friends, family–and even herself–had dismissed the maids that worked for them. The ‘Help’ loved and cared for them when they were children. When those children grew up, they treated the maids as ‘help’ not as the women that loved them as their own. Skeeter knew it had to change. She risked her reputation and friendships.

The true spirit of a self-rescuing princess, or in this case self-rescuing princesses, is woman/women standing up for themselves, for others, and especially by each other. They decided to do what they could, in the only way they knew how, to have their voices heard and to change their circumstances — and the life of their daughters and other women ‘destined’ to follow in their footsteps.


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