I finished The Help at 2:19 this morning. (See my March 8th post if you haven’t read the first half review.) Good book! I was not disappointed after page 200. A few things cropped up in the second half that nudged me as a writer, but as a reader, I loved it. It had a nice pace, light suspense, and was very descriptive. The characters were easy to empathize with, and the description and backstory were perfectly blended with the action. I was very happy that it was over 400 pages, because I hate reading a great book and then having it end too soon. This was just right.
As a writer, I was startled when about three-quarters of the way through the book, it abruptly switched from first person to third person. I had to read the first page of that chapter three times for it to sink in that it was not Skeeter speaking, but an omniscient narrator with a similar speech pattern. The book went right back to first person directly afterward, but I found it quite disruptive. Granted, all three of the MC’s were involved in the scene, and it would not have been easy to convey the complex events of that particular chapter from only one perspective, but I think that it could have been done.
I was also surprised that the author confessed at the end of the book to having been less than accurate with a few of her historical facts. Shake ‘n Bake was referenced, for example, even though in actuality it would not yet have been invented. That can be a slippery slope. I personally strive for authenticity in that regard, even researching dialogue to make sure that common phrases (such as “spilled the beans”) had been coined by the time period I’m writing.
In spite of these minor hiccups, I highly recommend the book, and am happy to own it. Great job, Kathryn Stockett!
Layinda’s Blog Final Rating: ¶¶¶¶¶