Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adult Audio Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
ISBN-13 Book: 9780399155345
Publisher Audio CD: Penguin Audio
ISBN CD: 9780143144182 (Unabridged)
Length: 15 CDs (Approximately 18 hours)
Narrator(s):Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell
Disclosure: I checked out the audiobook from my public library and purchased a copy of the book from Target.  This is my honest review!


The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:
The year is 1962 and college graduate Skeeter Phelan wants nothing more than to be an author. She gets a job writing a cleaning column for the local paper and it is there where she first begins to get the idea of telling the story of the black maids in Jackson who wait on white families. With the help of two courageous maids, Aibileen and Minny, the stories of the maids begin to come together in a book that will change all of their lives.

Review:
I know it has been a while since this book came out, and so many of my friends have recommended this one to me. Everyone I know who has read this novel has loved it, and I can now say I truly understand.

These characters are so finely developed they feel like real people. You can believe that you can reach out and touch them, but more than anything you want to hug them. Aibileen is so brave and honest. She shares her hopes, dreams, and heartbreak with the reader, and there is an eloquence to her you just love. In many ways Aibileen comes across as the noble maid. Minny was probably one of my favorite characters. She says what she means, and while her mouth sometimes gets her in trouble, I found her honesty refreshing and sometimes hilarious. Skeeter was interesting too. There was so much I wanted for Skeeter, I cheered for her successes and I really wished the best for her.

At its heart this is a novel about courage. What these women did would have consequences and they all knew it. They had the courage to continue on with the project despite what the consequences may be. I loved the characters, I loved how brave they were, and I love that they hoped for real change in their lives.

Audiobook:
This has to be one of the best audiobooks I have listened to in a long while. The narration is spot on, and you can believe that the narrators are the characters. The audiobook was produced by Penguin Audio and is read by Jenna Lamia (Skeeter), Bahni Turpin (Aibileen), Octavia Spencer (Minnie), and Cassandra Campbell. Audio is the perfect way to experience this novel. With the three narrators, and the three distinct voices, you can clearly hear these characters speaking, and the readers performances make these characters leap off the page. This audio is beautifully done, and one of the best listening experiences I have had this year. If you have never listened to an audiobook before, this would be a wonderful place to start.

Overall:
This is a wonderful book with well-drawn characters and a lot of charm. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.

Just a note, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but everyone tells me I need to see it. I didn’t realize that Octavia Spencer did both the audiobook and the movie—it will be a blast to see her on film. Now…I just need to check out a copy from my library. I hope it is in!


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