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Publisher's Summary

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 17th 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.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another.

This edition now includes the afterword "Too Little, Too Late - Kathryn Stockett in Her Own Words", as read by the author.

Bonus Audio: Hear an exclusive interview with Kathryn Stockett.
©2009 Kathryn Stockett, Cover Art: (c) 2011 DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC (P)2009 Penguin

Critic Reviews

"This heartbreaking story is a stunning debut from a gifted talent." ( Atlanta Journal)
“It's graceful and real, a compulsively readable story of three women who watch the Mississippi ground shifting beneath their feet as the words of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Dylan pervade their genteel town. When folks at your book club wonder what to read next month, go on and pitch this wholly satisfying novel with confidence.” ( Entertainment Weekly)
"[A] wise, poignant novel...You'll catch yourself cheering out loud." ( People Magazine)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Jan
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 12-02-09

What a great surprise!

I am a 40 year old male that usually listens to colonial history, suspense and adventure novels. I bought this book based solely on the ratings and rave reviews.....I was not disappointed. First of all, this is how an audio book should be produced. The characters were not just read to you by someone behind a microphone, honestly it felt very early in the book as if I were sitting at a kitchen table in Jackson, Mississippi listening to these three women take turns telling me their story. These were not simply narrators reading to me, they became the characters fully fleshed out and filled with emotion. Secondly, I am astonished that this is the first novel written by Kathryn Stockett. I was not expecting to get so wrapped up in the lives of these women but it was so well damn interesting....soooo funny and at times tense. So far I have downloaded about 30 books and this is my favorite by far. I did not want it to end. What a find.

376 of 387 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Okay, I GET it!!!

For the longest time I resisted listening to this book, and kept wondering "why does everyone love this?" While it seemed as though a giddy throng was raving about it, I quietly said "no thanks" and "not for me". After all, it violated all my "rules" about what fiction I would read and what book I would decline. It had too many characters, too many southern accents, too much conversation. It was about a place and time I had little interest in - even though I was the same age, at the time, as the main character, and had lived through many of the events mentioned in the book. And, I was not interested in the sociology of "white ladies" and their "black maids" in what I considered to be a then culturally unenlightened area.

Well, I was wrong. One day, for lack of anything else to read, I downloaded "The Help" and I was addicted from the first word. While I am not usually a fan of dramatizations, I think that is what sealed the deal on this book for me. The voices of the characters as read by different narrators were Goldilocks perfect - right on the money, and brought to life the world of privileged southern women and their black help, with all its humor, sadness, love and pain.

I can't really add to what any of the other reviewers have said. I ended my reading of this book in tears, as it brought up so many feelings of loss in my own childhood. But this book is not about its ending, even though the story concluded with a painful scene. It's more about living, about the positive, get-it-done energy we all spend in making it through each and every day, through whatever to us means "good" and "bad", and through connections made and connections broken.

I can't wait until this book is a movie. While reading I spent half the time casting all the characters, and will not miss the opening of this book on film.

277 of 297 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful voices!

I suspect this book is better heard than read. Each voice is distinct, beautiful in quality; Aibileen's is like velvet, Minny's rich and deep, Skeeter's girlish till the reader becomes the sharp New York editor. I finished the book and then started it all over again. It's a captivating story, too.

113 of 122 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Exceeded Expectations! Movie pales in comparison..

Books are supposed to transport you to another world and or time, books are to leave you in a sense of awe and make you feel the raw emotion in that moment. That is what books are supposed to do and in the world of modern literature, a lot of books only give you part of it. While listening The Help, I was not only transported to another time but I also felt the struggles of the different characters, from the quick witted, fiery Milly, to the regal Aibileen and the rebellious Skeeter resonated with you. You even could not help root for the minor characters in the book. The only shortcoming in the book stems from the fact that you simply wanted to hear more. It was not that anything was lacking, but you get so enthralled with the story yourself you cannot help but wish there was another maid to hear from or another chapter to listen to or another DA meeting.

The movie does not do the book justice, even though the movie in itself was simply a good watch, the Audiobook was downright excellent. The narrators embodied the characters so well and they gave you a good visual impression of the book era and world that the book took place in. I regret that the movie missed such pivotal parts in the movie like the discovery of Milly, the dynamics of the relationship between Skeeter and her boyfriend in the book and a number of important scenes that characterized Aibileen and Skeeter's friendship. The stories of some of the minor maids got a bit 'watered down' as a result of a need to have commercial appeal in the movies while in the book the relationship was identified quite clearly.

Every portion of the book is a must listen and even the very last portion of the book (the section where the author speaks about her life, the book itself and how the book came to be) was also a very poignant part in the story.

Without a doubt one of the most excellent Audiobooks that I have had the pleasure of listening to!

71 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Simply the BEST audiobook I've ever heard!!!

This book was unbelievable. I'm sure it's wonderful to read, but listening to it was magical. The voices completely jibe with how your imagine the characters really are, which makes this book so compelling I never wanted it to end. The story is gripping, the characters are wonderful, and your allegiance to, and empathy for, certain characters is so natural that finishing the book felt like I should be hugging them each goodbye.

I listen to audiobooks while I'm swimming laps (with my underwater kit!), and my 30-minute swims turned into 45 and 60 minutes for the last 4 hours of this book

91 of 101 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This is one of the best books I have heard (or read) in a long time. Believe it or not, the seriousness of the story is told with laugh out loud humor. The writing is so vivid you feel like you are there and the narrators deserve an Academy Award.

55 of 61 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeanine
  • Jonesboro, AR, USA
  • 12-16-09

Insidiously Revealing

I grew up in this time and place. I have known these people, places and events. But, the vantage point taken in this novel is like none other. I was one of those white women who knew only the enviornment presented. Even then, I knew something was wrong about the strata of the society. But, admittedly, those feelings were vague and, for the most part, irrelevant to my life at the time. This book reveals the hard truth about the cavalier way middle and lower middle class whites treated blacks in the 60ish era especially in the south. Clearly the triumph of this work is the ingenious manner in which the message is delivered to the reader. The irony of oppression is seen more clearly when it is revealed how very much the oppressor "needed" (on almost every level)the oppressed. The engrossing narrative of these families and their hired "help" makes the truth of its message sting all the more. This book is so much more than a book about classism or racism. It offers a look at a time when lifestyles of one race were created, maintained and perpetuated by the subjugation of members from another race. However, this is no pounding morality tale. That is the power of this message. Ironically, the tale is sweet and for me, nostalgic; but its message is insidiously reavealing. If you think you have a pretty good grasp of "how it was then,"
you might want to withold that comment until you read this book. For me, it was spot on.

77 of 86 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Powerful Message That Reaches Beyond Its Setting

I made a mistake by buying this book before the release of the movie--and then watching the movie first. I really didn't like the movie very much. I didn't find it all that funny. As a child growing up during the time this story takes place it just brought back so many memories that I would rather not remember. It really wasn't a funny time. So, in the end I put listening on hold. Then, at last--years later--I decided to give the book a try. I am so glad that I did.

The book is very different from the movie. The message is much more complex, layered, multi faceted and totally enthralling. It captures the fear, the cruelty, the violence, the nasty disregard, the struggle for survival and the hope for change that filled the era. More than this, to me, it wasn't just about race relations but really about how we all treat one another. Yes, racial inequality, prejudice and maltreatment take the front stage--but if you look deeper it exposes much more than this. It makes you look at friendships, parent/child connections and treatment, marriages and dating and the hierarchy of a community in a whole new light.

The narration was fantastic, but, be prepared, it's a rollercoaster of a ride. The style and the voices of the women reading take hold completely and won't let go. For me, not laugh out loud funny. Instead, this excellent book transcends time and makes you really think about how far we have come and how far we still need to go.

35 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
  • 12-17-09

Put this one at the top of your list.

The hype is accurate and well deserved. So beautifully written and performed, I envy anyone who gets to experience this audiobook for the first time.

71 of 82 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cheryl D
  • San Antonio, TX, USA
  • 03-08-09

Highly recommended!

I read thru the reviews for both the book online and the audiobook here. I am so glad I chose to listen b/c The Help is one of the most wonderful engrossing books I have ever listened to. It has true life villans and if you're from the South you will recognize many of the women in the book from your own experience. I raced thru it b/c it was so good, now I am sad it's over. It's not very often you come across a book that you HAVE to listen to every spare second. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to see more of Stockett's work in the future. Read The Help.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful