The Help: a book review

If you’ve read and liked To Kill A Mockingbird, you will love this book.

And if you like to read a good story, you’ll like this book.

The Help was written by Kathryn Stockett. This is her first novel, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. It’s written from three different perspectives, whose voices are all distinct and clear. But their stories intertwine seamlessly, creating a masterpiece of fiction.

The story is set in the 1960’s, in Jackson, Mississippi. It is two centuries after the end of the civil war, but still in Jackson, the colored people still serve the whites. The women work as maids, cleaning, cooking, and raising white children for very little pay. They are expected to use a separate outdoor toilet, do every stitch of housework, and follow every unwritten code of separation. Their families depend on them for survival. One wrong move could topple their lives.

We follow Skeeter, a young white woman who is her mother’s disappointment, but aspires to be a journalist. Bothered by the way her friends treat their maids, she begins collecting stories from the black servants about how it really is to work for white families. These tales are shocking, disgraceful, and incriminating. Minny is a fiery, middle-aged black woman, caring for her family and working away from home at the same time. Her uncontrollable temper has gotten her into trouble too many times, and now she must carry even more secrets than ever. The story follows her journey to undo years of betrayal, hurt, and mistrust. Aibileen, the quiet and steady character, hears and observes everything. Caught in the tug between black and white, she struggles with her need to tell the truth and to protect her community.  Secrets are dangerous things, as we find out.

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The Final Summit: A Book Review

“What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?”

To sum it all up in simple language, The Final Summit by Andy Andrews, is the account of a council of famous folk from history who meet to find the answer to one question. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance as the Travelers discuss their keys to success and lessons from their lives. Swiftly falling in an hourglass standing in the middle of the table are the sands of time.

David Ponder, the hero from The Traveler’s Gift, is the leader of this discussion. One by one, world-changers are brought to the circle, from any time in history, bearing with them all the wisdom they have gathered in their lives. Among this number is the sixteen-year-old girl believing in hope as she leads an escort of French soldiers to the victory of an English fortress in 1429, the 16th president of the United States, and a courageous spy who brought World War 1 to an earlier end.

 Amidst a host of the world’s wisest people, you will journey through time to learn some of the most important truths history has to offer. The answers they bring to the question are immeasurably valuable, and as we faithfully apply them to our world and the situations in which we find ourselves, great things can happen!

Books I’ve Been Reading

This is a very short summary of the books I’ve buried my nose into lately.

Forgotten God by Francis Chan: Educating and convicting my heart and life about the Holy Spirit, Francis Chan has changed my view of the Trinity. I don’t think I could be the same or pray the same way after reading this book. He challenged my misconceptions, dug deep into Scriptures, and introduced me to the Holy Spirit in a fresh way. The Holy Spirit does a vital work, speaking to us and directing our minds, thoughts, and actions. Do I leave room for Him to work in my life? Do I submit to Him when He offers His power in my weakness?

I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy: This work of fiction is part of the Scarlet Pimpernel series, which, along the Sherlock Holmes series, has been my most enjoyable fiction reading! In this story, a woman betrays her one true love (kind of reminiscent of The Scarlet Pimpernel, first book of the series), and the book simply chronicles the impossibility of their situation as they are ushered from court to prison on their way to the guillotine.

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan: The most convicting book I’ve read in a long time, besides the Bible. Chan goes over the doctrine of hell, how some people believe there will be chances to come to God after judgment, and what Jesus really said about it. He emphasizes how the truth of hell should revolutionize our lives, and the way we relate with the lost. It’s scary to examine my own habits, and see that I don’t often live like I really believe in hell. If there really is an eternal fiery punishment for those who reject God, then the most loving thing we can do is warn them! No one blames the doctor for telling his cancer patient he is going to die unless treatment is performed, or the father warning his child not to play in the middle of the street, with the threat of that big Dodge 4×4 coming around the corner. I’m not finished with this book, but it’s deep wading, with so many heart-pricks to ponder.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This is the first book about Sherlock Holmes, and it educated me as to how Holmes and Sherlock met. The plot is a duet of murders, leaving the detectives at Scotland Yard stumped, as usual. Holmes solves the case in Part 1, then the author takes us across the ocean to Utah in 1847, in Part 2. It chronicles the beginning of the Mormon settlement, and the fascinating story surrounding the murderer and his lifelong quest for revenge. A fascinating read which entwines the roots of Salt Lake City and the London crime scene!

As you can see, my interests are balanced. I prefer reading fiction with the help of Librivox.org, which reads them to me while I work outside or clean the house. But tangible pages and spines and covers occupy most of my spare minutes. Reading is an addiction I am incapable of overcoming!