Posts Tagged ‘lively’

The Help

November 28, 2012

Title: The Help
Author: Stockett, Kathryn
Publication Date:2009
Pages:464 pages
Geographical Setting: Jackson, Mississippi
Time Period: The Sixties (20th century)
Genre:Historical fiction
Series: N/A

Plot Summary:
The author tells a sombre story using three women’s perspective as they share their experiences in Jackson, Mississippi in the mid 60’s. Aibileen and Minny are African American women working as maids in white holds. Aibileen, though has had her own share of personal tragedies, however she is dutiful, loyal and loves the white children she takes care of. Minny on the other hand is sour, resentful and does not hesitate to speak her mind. Skeeter, a young white graduate has an inner struggle about finding who she is and settling down like all of her friends. As the story develops, Skeeter an aspiring writer, feels compassion for the plight of these black maids as they are mistreated while working for these families. She tries to convince the maids to tell their story about how it feels to cook, clean and take care of these white children under such degrading circumstances. As we learn about these women’s lives, we also get an insight into the racial prejudice and discrimination in the the south during the mid 1960‘s. The story moves very fast urging you to follow the characters they develop to find out what eventually happens.
Despite the evocation of sadness and melancholy in the story, the occasional interjections of humor help liven up the overall tone of the book.

Subject Headings: African-American women, Civil Rights Movement, College graduates,
Domestic workers, Housekeepers, Interracial friendship, Race relations, The Sixties (20th century)

Three Appeal Terms: Fast-paced, Compelling, Thought Provoking,

Appeal: Touching, thought-provoking, humorous and compelling, provocative, lively, dialect-rich, upbeat, moving, strong sense of place, engrossing, captivating, Fascinating

Fiction Read-Alikes:

The healing by Odell, Jonathan
A historical fiction – a personal account of a former slave’s experiences during pre civil rights movements in the south. This is a great read alike for those who truly enjoyed The Help and are curious about the lives of the slaves and how they coped.

We are all welcome here by Berg, Elizabeth
Here again, like the The Help we find three women but facing different types of struggles and survival – a bedridden mother, a teenager looking for freedom and an African American caregiver. The author portrays the relationship between race and class during the civil rights movements. This book would appeal to those interested in women’s quest for survival under grave circumstances, but with a lighter tone than in The Help.

Roots: the saga of an American family by Alex Haley
This award winning novel takes you right into the authentic story of slavery portrayed by this African American family. You follow the protagonist Kunte Kinte directly from capture in Africa, his resistance and eventual arrival and forced into slavery. This story spans seven generations of this family recounting their history through work in plantation, civil war and reconstruction period.

Non-Fiction Read-Alikes:

Song in a weary throat: an American pilgrimage by Murray, Paulie
Find a real personal account of Pauli Murray on the civil rights movement, women rights and advocacy. This will appeal to those who would like to learn more about race integration and major works on women’s rights.

Civil rights movement: people and perspectives by Michael, Ezra
For those who are interested in civil rights movements and its effect on the nation, this is a great resource. The book is comprehensive and gives various perspectives on the events of the civil rights era.

W.E.B. DuBois: biography of a race, 1868-1919 by David Levering Lewis
The biography of DuBois is an intelligent and detailed work. It is a great resource with in-depth account and analysis of the history of racism, civil war and civil rights movements. A well researched book and a credible source. Those intrigued by the level of racism and prejudice as portrayed in The Help would appreciate this resource.

Rockabye: from wild to child

June 15, 2009

Author: Woolf, Rebecca

Title: Rockabye: from wild to child

Genre: Non-fiction (biography/memoir)

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 289 pages

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, CA and surrounding area

Time Period: 2000’s

Series: (if applicable) n/a

Plot Summary:

Rockabye is the story of Rebecca Woolf, a young, hip, writer and blogger, who ends up unexpectedly pregnant at 23 years old. She decides to marry the father of the baby and her boyfriend, Hal in a shotgun wedding in Vegas. Woolf authentically details her journey and coming of age as she says goodbye to her chain-smoking, drinking and partying days, and hello to motherhood and the joy and responsibility of building a family without sacrificing her dreams and building a world that is wholly her own.

Subject Headings:

Mothers; motherhood


Fast-paced, detailed, engaging, familiar, intriguing, authentic, domestic, family-centered, rebellious, un-stereotypical, intimately written, detailed setting of Los Angeles, urban, candid, lively, frank, humorous, honest, insightful, unembellished, thoughtful, raw, natural, vivid

3 Terms that best describe this book:

Honest, candid, motherhood

3 Relevant Non-Fiction works and authors

Heidi Murkoff, What to expect when you’re expecting, is often referred to as the Bible of pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing.

Rita Arens, Sleep is for the Weak, is a lively compilation of short stories from various “mommybloggers”. It is a hilarious page-turner of real-life stories about motherhood.

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Sippy cups are not for chardonnay, delivers empathetic dirt on parenting and modern motherhood with plenty of side-splitting humor.

3 Relevant Fiction works and authors

Laura Wolf, Diary of a mad mom-to-be, is a funny, adventurous novel that follows Amy, a kooky heroine and Manhattanite, on her 9 months of pregnancy.

Risa Green, Notes from the underbelly, Lara Stone is a guidance counselor at an elite Bel Air high school and finds herself reluctantly pregnant. The novel is a quick and funny read that details how Lara deals with the many unexpected changes of pregnancy and motherhood.

Debbie DiGiovanni, Tight Squeeze, is a delightful novel about the trials and tribulations of being a mother. The novel follows Becca’s fifth pregnancy and the ensuing feelings of self-doubt, the search for her true self and the rediscovery of the joys of motherhood. The novel has light hints of Christian and spiritual references perhaps lightly introducing readers to the Christian Fiction/Inspirational genre.

Name: Natalie Ochockyj

The Duke and I

April 1, 2009

Author: Julia Quinn
Title: The Duke and I
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: 2000
Number of pages: 371
Geographical Setting: London, England
Time period: 1813
Series: 1st book in Bridgerton series

Plot summary:All of London is abuzz when dashing Simon Bassett, the heir to the Dukedom of Hastings, reappears in town after years of traveling abroad. Simon is a bachelor and, immediately, opportunistic society mothers start playing matchmaker for their daughters. However, he has vowed never to marry, and finds this attention unbearable. He strikes up a quick friendship with his friend’s sister, Daphne, and they concoct a plot that will benefit both of them – the two will pretend to be courting, making Simon unavailable to all of the eligible young ladies and making Daphne appear more desirable to society gentlemen, who up until now have only viewed her as a friend, rather than a potential wife. Things take a turn when Daphne and Simon realize their true feelings for one another, and a passionate romance begins to unfold. But Simon is hiding some painful secrets from his past that have the power to jeopardize his future with Daphne.

Subject headings: Marriage; Man-woman relationships; London (England); Betrothal—England, Regency romances; England–History–19th century; England—Social life and customs–19th century

Appeal: emotional, domestic, character driven, colorful, humorous, touching, romantic, lively, playful, historical details of 19th century England, dramatic, witty, passionate, racy, fast paced, strong secondary characters

Similar works (fiction): An Affair to Remember – Karen Hawkins (regency romance, similar tone, humor, strong female protagonist, well-developed secondary characters)
The Rake – Suzanne Enoch (humor, strong/lively characters, regency romance)
A Rake’s Vow – Stephanie Laurens (19th century England, well-drawn characters, strong female characters, unexpected romance develops)

Similar works (nonfiction): Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England – Judith Flanders (social life in the 19th century, domestic, historical details)
An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England– Venetia Murray (details of upper class life, romance, scandals)
Victoria’s Daughters – Jerrold M. Packard (biography of Queen Victoria’s five daughters; emphasis on women’s lives, marriage, social restrictions, etc.)

Name: Suzanne