Tuesday 29 November 2011

The Help, Chapters 29-34

I have finally finished The Help, and thank gawd for that! I mean, I think it's really easy to mock something when you spend a whole month on it and have a lot of time to think about it, but it's also easy to mock The Help because, you know, not. Good. Writing. So I'm glad it's over, but I'm also sad that the group read is over because what will I do with my Tuesdays? What will I MOCK?! What character can I hate now?!?!?! (Oh right, that's still you Skeeter.)

Sadly though, this last section of the book was kind of an anti-climax in the mockery stakes, because I can barely think of anything to say about it at all, good or bad. Skeeter's mother didn't die, which was sort of odd because normally doctors know things and when they say someone's going to die, they die. Although seeing Skeeter's ailing mother did make Hilly act like a human being for all of about 5 seconds, so that's something I suppose (Hilly's compassion, of course, only being extended to white people). But the whole section, I could really just feel the book wrapping itself up, dutifully setting into place the mechanisms to finish everything off with a nice neat bow, or what Stockett considers to be a nice neat ending.

Because, I have issues. Of course. I mean, it's obvious that Skeeter was going to move to New York and be a writer, because Stockett had her driving around all miserable and wanting to leave, and when people want to do stuff, they automatically get to do it, no questions asked. If they're white, of course. And then she has Minny leave Leroy, to which we're all meant to go, 'Yay! She is woman, hear her roar!' which I did, a little bit, but I also felt like, well, how great is her life going to be now? She's pregnant (maybe with twins), living with her sister, and yeah she's got a job for life (And HOW GREAT was that whole thing with Celia and Johnny, and MINNY CRYING! Just so good. There was a severe lack of Celia in this section) but what the hell is she going to do? I didn't want her to stay with Leroy, of course, but I would just have liked her story to be wrapped up a little more, since now, I feel like she's still got a long hard road ahead of her, and that's just not fair.

And Aibileen. I mean, how can I be happy that she has to leave Mae Mobley because Hilly's a ginormous bitch, and Elizabeth can't stand up for herself (well, she doesn't even know what 'herself' wants)? I like the whole optimistic like 'well, Hilly has to live with being a bitch, and Elizabeth has to live with not even seeing her own actions clearly, and wow, I can change my life!' thing, but I think that expecting a 4 year old to remember the lessons that she's taught her is expecting far too much. I mean, I can barely remember being 14, let alone 4, and if someone had taught me about civil rights then, I don't think it would have filtered into my subconscious. But maybe I'm just being harsh.

So, Skeeter remembered that she was a rich white woman in the South and could basically do anything she wanted, just like I told her. And Stockett showed extreme originality in sending a 24 year old white Mississippi native off to New York when she, a Mississippi native, moved to New York at 24. Amazing. Because, if she is basically Skeeter, then why isn't Skeeter better? You probably shouldn't answer that.

Oh yeah, and didn't we all love the 'well I'm clearly not like this, am I? Should we CHANGE OUR WAYS?!' nature of Skeeter's book? I mean obviously something Skeeter wrote would be as absolutely earth shattering, because she's all kinds of wonderful and has never annoyed anyone in her life. I mean, Help (where on earth did Stockett get a title like that from?!) is clearly the answer to everyone's problems, and from it everyone's lives will improve, apart from the fired maids (whose dilemmas are sort of ignored once the book makes some kind of progress, and some maids don't get fired) and, of course Minny's (although I guess it will, you know, eventually. But definitely not right away!). Oh yeah, and, it really pissed me off how Skeeter was all 'I can't go to New York, I have to stay and help everyone deal with the consequences of the book!' and I was like, you have literally been NO HELP at all on that regard ever, so just shut up and go away. And don't you dare show up in any sequels!

I would happily read a sequel where Minny and Celia team up together to fight crime. That shit would be awesome.

Note: I've only just noticed this, but does the recommendation on the front of the book make it sound like it's about a lesbian affair between a maid and her boss? Because that would have been a MUCH better book...


  1. It felt like a cheat when Skeeter's mom didn't die. Which sounds like a mean thing to say but she was clearly setting it up to happen and then last minute it's like "nope! she's fine!"

    I would totally read a book about Minny and Celia teaming up to fight crime. I think they need to investigate who the hell the crazy naked guy is cos really, that just kinda happened and no one was like "why is there a naked man breaking into people's houses?" Sounds like a gov cover-up to me!

  2. We don't have that quote on the front of ours BUT YES AND YES I WOULD HAVE ENJOYED THAT MUCH MORE. Alas.

    Minny & Celia's Detective Agency. Be opening it now please. Also OMG the section with Celia & Johnny and Minny crying. Favorite. BFFs forever. Maybe they'll make Minny a live-in maid or something.

    I'm sad the readalong's over. Maybe we could do another one in January, and make it something actually good...

  3. @Red- Yes! Such a crock! I wanted some death dammit! Especially because Skeeter's mum wasn't really very nice...

    Also, the naked man was clearly sent by the Governor of Mississippi or something because he heard that a white woman and a black woman were getting on and didn't like it- oh the conspiracy!

  4. @Reading Rambo- 'female love'=lol... Maybe Sarah Waters can write a good version of The Help set in the victorian times! Just a thought...

    I think they should adopt Minny and her children or something, although that's kind of condescending... but they should all live together in their big house and bake cookies (no pie) and be all happy. That would have been MUCH better!

    YES to another readalong because grumpy as I am about The Help, I enjoyed all the blogging and commenting and, actually, the being grumpy. And reading a book all spread out over a month is nice! And we can make Red take part too :)

  5. yes, please, to the Minny & Celia crimefighting/suprhero duo. you *know* that Celia is just itching to don a pink, spangly catsuit.

  6. You crack me up lol.

    I so HATED the writing, I couldn't get past the first ten pages. So, kudos to you for finishing it.

  7. @Crowe- Celia in a pink spangly catsuit is literally the most likely costume I've ever heard for anyone ever. Maybe we all should write the sequel!

    @Trish- Wise of you! I did find it easy to read, but basically everything about it pissed me off. Although it was fun being pissed off :)

  8. I haven't read The Help nor seen the movie...and I ain't gonna!! I'm sick to death of hearing everybody talk about what a great book this is and how inspiring it is and blah, blah, blah...and I know I shouldn't be chiming in since I haven't actually read the book (I get mad at other people for doing that very thing)...but geez, it makes me bonkers. The premise of this book reminds me of The Blind Side...I promised myself I wouldn't read or watch that movie either...I got bullied into watching the movie, thinking that maybe I was the one with the problem...nope, was nauseous all the way through it. I won't do that to myself again. I'm from Mississippi btw and your post and the comments had me howling :):) Can I ReadALong with ya'll next time?? Can I, Huh? ;)

  9. It's literally the least inspiring thing I've ever read, other than inspiring me to hate white people. Like, a lot. Also, you can of COURSE take part in the next readalong! We're still deciding on a book to read at the moment, but I'll do a post about it when we have and you can go on over to Alice's blog and sign up :)

  10. Re. the quote on the book's cover - hilarious, had not spotted that!

    Thanks for an enjoyable few posts. It was really fun to read about your evolving perception of the book, and my own experience would not have been disimilar. I didn't loathe Skeeter, although I did see her as seriously flawed as a person, just not as a character. But on most of the rest of your points I'd agree. I've never seen a book with such a huge number of Amazon ratings - most of which are 5/4 star - and I was desperately in need of a little sane talking. Thank you.

    1. I think when something gains the kind of notoriety of The Help, people's brains go out of the window and they go 'omg, it's in the Richard and Judy book club (probably, I have no idea if it was hehe) I LOVE it!' And, to be completely fair to it, it is completely readable. The fucker.

      I think that, if I'd just read the book in one go, I wouldn't have hated Skeeter quite so much, but the more time I had to think about it, the more I kept thinking 'but... she has all these options and she's a rich white woman, WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER?!' and it extra annoyed me because I can imagine many many readers going 'oh, Skeeter's so inspirational!' and SHE REALLY ISN'T!

      Glad you basically agree with me- as, clearly, everyone should! Hehe