AUGUST- The Help

Hello everyone! I am pleased to announce the August book of the month will be The Help! Schneffer was kind enough to post this synopsis of the book:


Here is a synopsis from www.chapters.indigo.ca:


Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:


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.


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. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.


 


**I am Excited to be reading with you all again this month! I will be posting some discussion questions for the previous book in a few moments as well. :D

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm
aggiebride
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aggiebride

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(21) Comments

cassandrajl
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07/11/2010
cassandrajl

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Its SUCH an awesome book!! There are discussion questions in the back of the book- so when someone takes out the book from the library or buys it, please type them up and get them up!! :) I read it very recently, so I wont be reading it again, but I'll absolutely participate in the discussion!

Posted on July 29, 2011 at 7:19 am
chrissyrenaegray
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chrissyrenaegray

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chrissyrenaegray

Yay!  I'm excited to read it again!

Posted on July 29, 2011 at 8:20 am
aggiebride
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aggiebride

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Wonderful! I will type up the questions and post them pretty quickly since we do have a few people that have read it :)

Posted on July 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm
blustarfruit
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05/14/2010
blustarfruit

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blustarfruit

This is such a good book!  You're really going to enjoy it!!

Posted on July 30, 2011 at 1:03 am
yelppuppy
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yelppuppy

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Awesome, can't wait to read, i mean listen.  I'm too busy with the baby so I've been getting Audible books and listen during the commute instead of reading.

Posted on July 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm
cupcake1818
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09/10/2011
cupcake1818

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cupcake1818

I am devouring this book!! Almost finished LOVE IT!!

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 5:05 am
chrissyrenaegray
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chrissyrenaegray

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I was the same way, cupcake1818!  Once I started reading, I couldn't stop!  Can't wait to discuss!  Are any of you going to see the movie this weekend?

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm
cassandrajl
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cassandrajl

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Are any of you LOVING it yet!? I can't WAIT to see the movie this weekend, Moore. Are you seeing it too?

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 2:50 am
aggiebride
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aggiebride

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aggiebride

You know, if anyone actually lives near each other, you could totally have a PW book club movie night.... That would be pretty sweet.
Posted on August 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm
chrissyrenaegray
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chrissyrenaegray

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@cassandralj--I probably won't see it this weekend, but I hope to see it while it's in theaters.

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm
cassandrajl
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Too bad I live in the middle of nowhere- I've yet to meet another PW bride within two hours of me. A book club movie night would be so much fun.


DH and I tried to see The Help tonight, but it was sold out when we got there! And we got there 20 mins early, expeccting some crowds. How crazy is that. So we pre-purchased tix for a Sunday matinee showing of it- im looking forward to it!

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm
chrissyrenaegray
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chrissyrenaegray

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I've had a few friends who read the book and have seen the movie, and they said it followed pretty closely.

Posted on August 13, 2011 at 4:01 am
Sammy_D
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09/10/2011
Sammy_D

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I saw the movie last night, it was great!! It did follow the book very closely, the only omisisons were a few little details that it would have been hard to put in the movie and have them make sense. Loved it!

Posted on August 14, 2011 at 4:41 am
aggiebride
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aggiebride

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Great to hear! I have to be honest, I JUST got the book, but will post the discussion Q's now so people can start talking about them :D I'm a fast reader, so no worries! :D

Posted on August 14, 2011 at 5:00 am
aggiebride
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Spoiler Warning: These book club discussion questions reveal important details about The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Finish the book before reading on.


 


Which characters did you find most likable and sympathetic?


 


To what extent do you think a person's flaws, such as racist attitudes and behaviors, can be forgiven because it is the norm in the surrounding culture?


 


Could you sympathize with Miss Hilly? Do you think it is possible to be a good mother despite deep character flaws?


 


What motivated Aibileen?


 


What did you think about Minny's revenge?


 


How much do you think the dynamics of relationships between black people and white people have changed?


 


Rate The Help on a scale of 1 to 5.


(From HERE)


1. Who was your favorite character? Why?


2. What do you think motivated Hilly? On the one hand she is terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can’t control her. Yet she’s a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother but, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?


3. Like Hilly, Skeeter’s mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter— and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable; and most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter’s mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why?


4. How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?


5. Did it bother you that Skeeter is willing to overlook so many of Stuart’s faults so that she can get married, and that it’s not until he literally gets up and walks away that the engagement falls apart?


6. Do you believe that Minny was justified in her distrust of white people?


7. Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?


8. From the perspective of a twenty-first century reader, the hairshellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of “beauty” changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what’s the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent?


9. The author manages to paint Aibileen with a quiet grace and an aura of wisdom about her. How do you think she does this?


10. Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white?


11. What did you think about Minny’s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?
(Questions issued by publisher.)


 


There are two sets of questions, feel free to answer one, some or all if you so choose! :D

Posted on August 14, 2011 at 5:04 am
amber020682
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03/24/2012
amber020682

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This book is def. on my MUST READ list!! Anyone want to sell their copy when they are done?? :)

Posted on August 16, 2011 at 3:44 am
yelppuppy
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yelppuppy

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*skipped the questions above because I just started*


I finally started on this.  I was listening to The Poet by Michael Connelly (very entertaining btw, if you're into crime thriller) before this.


I'm listening to the audio book, and just wanted to comment the narrators' accent added so much color to the story.  Everytime I listen to it I feel like I'm phyically in the deep south haha!  If you're open to audio books, I highly recommend it!

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 5:47 am
jackieg
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04/17/2009
jackieg

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Just finished.....AMAZING!! I don't know why I didn't read it sooner! I cried!!
Posted on August 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm
aggiebride
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Okay, finished the book last night, and going to the movie tomorrow.


First, I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh, and it also said a lot of important things about racial dynamics. I also read the part about the authors own caretaker growing up, which I thought was beautiful.


Here are a few answers to some of the questions, less Q and A, more paragraph.


I hate Hilly, but I am more mad at Skeeters mother. Both of those characters made my skin crawl, and the ideals they held are something I cannot fathom and find dispicable. I seriously wanted to throw something every time Hilly brought up the toilets, and the "diseases" they could get from sharing facilities, especially since she must have, on some level, known that wasn't true since she had been sharing a toilet with Abileen for YEARS before that!! UGH. I know that it is fiction, but the fact that someone could ever think like that... it just... ugh.


I LOVE LOVE LOVE Minnie, Abileen, Skeeter and Minnie's later employers. They have so much life, and such great suprises as characters. I espcially like Skeeters interactions with her mother... they remind me of my own interactions in some way, since my mother is incapable of finishing a conversation with me without mentioning my weight, and Skeeters Mother's incessant nagging about her clothing and everything else just hit home.


The character development in this book is really what makes it for me. You feel like you KNOW all these women, the good and the bad ones. The author has keyed into some basic human interactions so well, you feel as though you are there, and the voice is so authentic, you can hear the deep resonation of accent in your head.


Overall, I loved this book. I am so excited to go to the movie tomorrow!

Posted on August 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm
yelppuppy
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05/23/2009
yelppuppy

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It was a great read listen!  I was immersed into the story and I could not put it down.  I felt like I was under water and didn't even want to surface for a quick breath.


One thing I noticed is the characters were quite one-dimentional.  They are either "the good guys" or "the bad guys".  Even though all the "good" characters were flawed in some ways, readers still have no problem categorizing them to the correct group.  I think the simplicity made the book so enjoyable, but at the mean time it lacked depth to be a masterpiece.


There are a lot of good discussion points.  I'm going to pick a few to start.


To what extent do you think a person's flaws, such as racist attitudes and behaviors, can be forgiven because it is the norm in the surrounding culture?


How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?


I think it's very arrogant to think that our idealogy is independent of the time and culture. We've all studied history in school, and every generation across all cultures evolved with time.  Their scientific knowledge, their attitudes towards others, religion, concepts of family, food, art... everything and anything that you can think of, is under the influence of the people around you.  I would like to think if I was born 50 years ago, I'd be the only person on the block who is not a racist.  But I would never make such a claim. Such claim equates to claiming I am perfect in every way, and I have no room for improvement.


I would say racist attitudes can be forgiven, but I don't think violent behaviors should be.  We as a race have been civilized for too long to inflict physical pain and confinement upon others for no reasons or petty crimes. There are always people who enjoy inflicting pain on others, and their justifications are different throughout history - from witch hunting to racism, but the behaviors are the same, done by people who share similar personality traits.  A good example is the South pre-civil war.  The vast majority of the white cotton growers (if not all?) kept black slaves, and they didn't think the slavery system was wrong.  That's the racist attitdue, and that's because one cannot escape the influence of his time and culture.  But not all of them were mean spirited or abusive toward their slaves. That is something one can control, independent of the era.


Like Hilly, Skeeter’s mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter— and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable; and most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter’s mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why?


I think Skeeter's mother is similar to Elizabeth.  They're not quite as extreme as Hilly; they didn't go out of their way to persecute blacks just for a sense of entitlement or superiority. They didn't question the authority much.  They believed whatever their peers, parents and the government advocated, and they represented the majority of the population, especially some 50 years ago. They followed the herd and I cannot point my finger at them and say they were completely stupid and I'd never make a mistake like that.  Skeeter's mother was severe and inflexible.  She meant well but she was critical.  Her ultimatum may seem cruel, but remember racial segregation was legally enforced in that area back then, so she could very well have pressed charges and throw Constantine's daughter to jail.  In her mind, she was doing them a favor and letting things go, as long as Constantine's daughter would never be in the same town again.  I think Skeeter's mom is a sympathetic character.  I'm not saying I like her or agree with her, it's just that I can see where she came from and she could've done a lot worse.  Can you imagine what Hilly would've done if she was in her situation?


How much do you think the dynamics of relationships between black people and white people have changed?


A lot? LOL!  When I read this book, and when I watched Mad Man, it was so hard for me to believe that was merely 50 years ago.  And I inevitably ask myself, what beliefs our generation holds that we think are so natural and correct, will be the ridicule of our grandchildren's time?  What "evils" do we commonly regard will be the victims of prejudice a few decades down the road?

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 9:38 am
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