Review for The Help

Well, folks I’m back for another post! I’ve just finished reading The Help which tickled my funny bone. Some books you have to make yourself finish. Thankfully this was not the case. I took it to work to read during nap time and would force myself to stop to get things done.

colin morgan smile GIF by BBC

Let’s get to the good stuff shall we! 😉

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Genre – Historical fiction

Series – No

Rating – PG-13 for tense situations and language

Age Range – Older Teen or Adult

Synopsis –

Aibileen’s son died several years ago which leaves a hole in her heart. She has been working as a maid for most of her life. As she cares for Miss Leefolt’s two-year old daughter Mae Mobley, Aibileen becomes attached the the child and tries to impart some wisdom to her. Aibileen’s friend Minny struggles to hold her tongue while working and is seeking a job after being fired. Then there is Eguenia Phelan or Skeeter. Skeeter has two goals in life: become an author and find out what happened to her family maid Constantine. These three women come together to make a difference in their town of Jackson, Mississippi.

My Thoughts –

A while back I saw The Help with my sister. We both enjoyed the movie and quoted it from time to time, but I didn’t really think about reading the book. Then a few months later, I was out garage saling and saw it sitting there on a table. I bought it thinking it would make for a good summer read. And now I finally got around to actually reading it.

We hear the story from three alternating perspectives – Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. At first, I just wanted to hear Aibileen’s story as it was captivating hearing about what her life was like serving a white family. However, as the book moved along, I grew to appreciate all three of the ladies. Minny’s sections were thought provoking as well as humorous. The author did a great job giving each of the ladies a distinctive voice that flowed through the book. These three lives intersect and change. I loved the phone conversations and meeting these three had.

Stockett builds a colorful picture of what Jackson Mississippi would have looked like in the 1960’s. To me it felt like the author had done her research and really brought Jackson to life.

you is kind the help GIF

Personally, Aibileen was my favorite. From working with kids, I appreciated all the work Aibileen went through potty training Mae Mobley. I loved seeing her prayer life as well and how writing her prayers was a way for her to keep practicing what she learned in school. She has a list of people that she prays for every night. Aibileen may be quite, but she has a brave heart and is a good friend to Minny.

Ceila Foote surprised me! I really rooted for her and her husband. Despite her gaudy outfits and ignorance about certain things, she stands up for Minny and has a great love for her husband. The whole bathroom scene was touching.

As a novel, this book makes for a fun read. It isn’t flashy, instead more down to earth. Now, I highly doubt this sort of thing would have ever happened. Especially in the ’60s and I’m no expert. I just cannot see maids actually spilling these stories out to Skeeter.

Quotes –

“Bouncing her on my hip to get the gas moving and it didn’t take two minutes fore Baby Girl stopped her crying, got to smiling up at me like she do.” (p. 1).

“”Miss Celia . . .” I shake my head, not believing I’m already arguing with this lady and I haven’t worked here two minutes.” (p.

“Sure, I dreamed of having football dates, but my real dream was that one day I would write something that people would actually read.” (p.69).

“She hugs me around the neck, say “you’re righter than Miss Taylor. I tear up then. My cup is spilling over.” (p. 461).

Language – There is some swearing throughout as well as some instances of using the Lord’s name in vain.

Violence – We hear how the employer treated Aibileen’s dead son. As well as how a character becomes blind. We see how the police treat the black community during that time. There is also several mentions of domestic violence.

Innuendo – There are rumors about a character having gotten pregnant out of wedlock.

Conclusion –

I really liked this book, liked the characters, the storytelling, and the setting. This book has been out for while now and people seem to either hate or love it. For me I loved it! Much of the book takes places in the summer which was very fitting. It different and at times sad to hear some of the ladies stories, but the author does it in an engaging way. All I can say is that I’d recommend it! 🙂

Up Next – I will be starting Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Cannot wait to hear from you!! What book are you reading? Do you like historical fiction? Have you read/watched The Help? What are your thoughts?

Anna

The Martian VS Project Hail Mary

Hello fellow bloggers!

I know its been awhile since I’ve popped on here, but I am hoping to get back into the groove of posting. Life has picked up the last few months. Got a new job which has been keeping me busy. Has also led to slow down in my reading. After The Scoripo Races, which left a bad taste in my mouth, I stumbled upon some fun science fiction!! I’ve talked about my love for sci-fi in the past; it is one of my go to genres. Some of the ladies in my book club suggested The Martian which I read over vacation. Then I saw the author had a new book about an astronaut with amnesia. Books with amnesia have always fascinated me going back to The Black Stallion Revolts. 😉

So with that long preamble I am going review and lay out my thoughts on these two books Enjoy!!

I’ll start with The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir

Genre – Science fiction, Survival

Series – No

Rating – R- for Strong frequent language

Age Range – Adult

Synopsis –

After waking up to a low oxygen warning, Mark Watney realizes he is stranded alone on Mars. His crew believes him to be dead and reports back to NASA what had occurred. Watney begins adapting the HAB, a station built by the crew, and conserving food. He was the crew’s botanist and engineer and uses these skills to try to stay alive; doing everything from growing plants, exploding stuff, and retrieving a radioactive heater. Once NASA realizes they’ve made a mistake, they endeavor to save Watney.

My Thoughts –

First, I knew the premise from watching the movie. I love the movie!! Its well done and feels so realistic. Plus, Matt Damon does a great job as Watney! It had been a few years since I had watched it though, so it gave me a chance to come to the book with fresh eyes. I love the originality of the book. Sending a crew to Mars that goes disastrously wrong and getting to see how someone might survive that circumstance. I liked The Martian quite a bit. Watney can be hilarious. He is much more of a wise-crack in the book more so then in the movie.

The majority of the book is told through Watney’s eyes with sections switching to NASA. I preferred the sections with Watney, some of the people at NASA got on my nerves at times.

Pretty much everything goes wrong, and we see Watney try to resolve the crises using lots of math and science. Some of the math stuff was super complicated, but made an intriguing read. It was the sort of book you don’t want to put down so you can see what will happen.

Content – Yeah, there is lots and lots of language here. Watney uses it frequently as well as the crew at NASA. Which was annoying, but the story held my interest so I kept reading. The only other thing was Watney was injured in his side by an antenna which isn’t really discussed much in the book.

Now over to Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Science Fiction, Dystopian

Series – No

Rating – PG-13 for occasional language and peril

Age Range – Adult

Synopsis – Grace Ryland wakes up strapped to a bed and unable to remember his own name. A machine feeds him and provides medical attention. Upon escaping the mechanical machine’s arms. He explores his surroundings. Ryland realizes he is on a spaceship hurling through space with two dead astronauts for companions. Ryland has no clue why he is traveling through space. The only clues he has are a few vague memories. How will Ryland survive?

My Thoughts –

I loved that we got to slowly figure out what was going on with Ryland. It was a great tactic! The whole amnesia in space was awesome as well! I know I would totally freak out if I woke up in the middle of another solar system with no clue how I got there. Plus, I got to say Rocky was the best side kick!! I am trying not to give anything away, but he takes the story to another level. Ending kinda reminded me of Interstellar and Ender’s Game. There is some crazy manipulation going on that isn’t quite the level of forcing kids into military training, but its close.

We have some similar elements of a guy stranded and trying to survive, but Ryland is a junior high science teacher. Which I loved!! So he uses Chemistry and Physics at time, but I liked Ryland as a character better then Watney. Plus loved the conversations with Rocky. Which we didn’t really get in The Martian, most of focus was on saving Watney no real character development. And you know I like my character development. The author does a great job giving you a villain to dislike. Some of the sections with Stratt got a little repetitive and boring at times, and I kept saying, “Let’s move on.”

I liked the moral questions Project Hail Mary asks. What would you do if all of humanity rests on your shoulders? How would you handle the stress of being alone?

*Spoiler Alert* – There is a scene with Ryland trying to clean and save Rocky where he uses air pump that had me laughing out loud.

Also the ending guys! Isn’t what I was expecting at all! But I like it, it different and unique. Anybody else see a resemblance to Ender’s Game?

Content – There were a few choice words said, however much cleaner then The Martian. Not much to say here, except some people thought Stratt and Ryland were a thing, which they were not.

Conclusion –

So far I would describe my 2021 book genres as Classics and Science Fiction centered. Both of these books were perfect summer reads! Light and fun! I liked Project Hail Mary a bit more though. It had lots of surprises and things to think about.

That’s all I got for now!

How is your summer going? Have any favorite sci-fi books? Have you read either of these books?

Up Next – I’m finishing up Where the Crawdads Sing then starting The Help

Anna