Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Book Nook

Hi readers,

Welcome to my first ever Book Nook!  Every Monday, I'll write about a book that I have read recently or a favorite book of mine.  I believe one of the best ways to discover great books is by recommendation.  Sometimes the library can seem a bit daunting, especially for adult fiction.  There's just so much out there!

There are a couple of things I wanted to mention about my Book Nook before we get started.  First, I'll only profile books that I recommend.  If whatever I'm currently reading is a dud, I won't put it in Book Nook.  Also, you'll see a link to  There are a couple reasons for this - you can get on amazon to check out customer reviews (which is something I love to do - I love to see what others have to say about a book I've read).  The other reason for the amazon link is just sheer laziness on my part - I don't have to take a picture & download it.  You should know that if you purchase a book through my link, I do get some $ from amazon - I don't want you to think I'm being sneaky or anything!

So, with that said, let's get on with this week's book:  The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

I was hesitant to start this book, to be honest.  Usually, I don't go for popular, best sellers.  But it sounded interesting when I stumbled upon it on amazon & it got lots of great reviews, so why not?  I'm so glad I gave it a chance!

The book is told by 3 narrators:  Skeeter, just out of college, living back home with her parents and anxious to get a job as a writer; Aibeleen, a middle-aged black maid working for a white family who seems to have no love for their toddler daughter; and Minny, a friend of Aibeleen's who keeps losing maid jobs because of her sassy attitude.  The novel is based in Mississippi in the early 60's.

The one thing I really loved about this book was how real the characters seemed.  I would find myself thinking about the novel & the characters throughout the day as I was doing dishes or doing stuff with with the kids.  They're all very well-rounded characters, with good qualities and bad, real motivations and actions.  Even the more minor characters jump off the page: Hilly does evil in a realistic way, Elizabeth is a true follower - and I just loved Celia.  Here is someone we could all dislike (gets to lounge around all day, isn't very perceptive) but she has real heart & soul & feelings.  I love the little mystery that Stockett creates around this character (why does she disappear upstairs throughout the day?) and was touched by her genuine kindness towards Minny.  I'd like to be Celia's friend in real life!

My only complaint about the novel is the Stuart storyline, but in all fairness, my CDs (I listened to the audio book) skipped during a lot of the Skeeter/Stuart interactions - so I missed a little of the dialogue.  I just didn't think the Stuart storyline was as interesting as the other things happening in the story, and I found myself wanting the book to hurry on to the good stuff!  On the other hand, I think it was important for Stockett to put Stuart in the story - we need to know that Skeeter has options & decisions to make here - a traditional Southern wife kind of life, or a more independent woman kind of role.

If you enjoy books on CD, the narrators are excellent, especially the Aibeleen narrator.  She would put in little sighs or laughs, just as Aibeleen would if you were sitting at her kitchen table.

I highly recommend this book!  I enjoyed it thoroughly & will probably be reading it again soon - to visit the old friends I feel I made the first time around!

Have a nice Memorial Day!

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