I really want to do something that makes me think and forces me to read. So, when I saw info on THe Blush and Bashful Bookclub, I wanted to give it a try. I have been wanting to read The Help for quite a while, so after I got an iPad for Christmas, it was the first thing I downloaded. I finished it pretty quickly after that! But, I still want to participate. So, without being spoiler-y, here are my thoughts on the questions posed for chapters 1-3. I tried to remember what I thought as I read the book, even though I obviously know how it all turns out by now. Please see below my answers for my other insights to this book.
Right off the bat, who are your favorite characters? Why? What do you like about them?
I love the idea of Mae Mobley. Stockett (it's Stockett, ladies, not Sprockett! A typo that I am seeing everywhere. Curse you, spell check!) really uses her to show how Elizabeth is as a person, not just how she acts toward her maid. I love Minny. You can already tell that she is going to provide the honesty and comic relief throughout the novel.
Who are your least favorite characters? Why? What is it that you dislike?
I'm pretty sure ELizabeth Leefolt is the worst kind of character there is. Not evil entirely, but she obviously doesn't think for herself (as demonstrated by calling Hilly after convincing Mr. Leefolt to build the bathroom -"I explained it to him, just like you said.") She is clearly all about how she looks to others. Aibileen tells us that she makes covers for everything in her house she's unhappy with.
Who are you most interested to learn more about?
I want to know why Skeeter cares so much, when clearly none of her friends do. I want to know what Minny did. And I want to see if Hilly is right in hating Celia, because she does seem like a nut job, but I can't stand Hilly, so I really don't want her to be right!
What do you think the Terrible Awful Thing is that Minny did to Miss Hilly?
Since I know what it is, no comment. I don't want to give any hints...
Why is Celia Foote hiding Minny from Mister Johnny? What is she afraid of?
My thoughts were that she knew that Hilly was a seemingly perfect wife and she didn't want Johnny to regret marrying her. I think she thought that if she could do everything Hilly did without the aid of a maid, she would look like the superior choice in wife.
What kind of man do you perceive Mister Johnny to be?
One that bends to the whims of his annoying wife because it's easier than fighting.
What do you think is to come from Miss Skeeter's question she asked Aibileen in the kitchen?
I knew it would come up later in the book, for sure.
What's your favorite line from Chapters 1-3?
When Minny talked about the effects of Aibileen's prayers on her ex-husbands new lady, I laughed out loud!
I really, really liked this book. we have all seen so many portrayals of life during the Civil Rights era, but nothing like this. I like the voices and narration: the juxtaposition of prayerful, heartbroken-but-not-spirit-broken Aibileen and spitfire, they're-all-out-to-get-me Minny. I am a huge, huge Entertainment Weekly fan, and up until the last issue, Stephen King was a monthly contributor to the magazine. He called The Help one of the best books of 2010 and told potential readers that he loved the domestic details in the book. I looked for them as I read: The 60-something pleats in Miss Leefolt's skirt, the way Minny goes about cleaning the filth that accumulated in the Foote home. For me, Stockett's attention to detail in the setting not only benefitted the reader, but it showed how this vocation completely consumed the maids.
PS - THe Help is already being made into a movie with Emma Stone as Skeeter and Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly... I am interested to see how that turns out.