Help Yourself

I'm not one of those people that can say they never give in to peer pressure. If everyone's having two scoops of ice cream, I'm in. Just one more shot? I guess so. And sure, I'll spend the day at the spa.

And then there are books- I'm quite resistant to suggestions there. My general feeling is that if a book is hugely successful I'm not going to read it, even if my friend, sister and uncle's gardener have. It's like the difference between the house margarita and the one made with top shelf tequila. Call me pretentious, but I read to grow/learn/think and most of the books that become massively popular are written solely to entertain (and make money). Most people do not find analysis, description, and all that other crap we English majors love any fun. I'm well aware that I'm in the minority.

I know, I know. Those who have book-gasms over the latest Nicholas Sparks and Jennifer Weiner books are bitching me out. But, we all have our preferences. I know people who won't set foot in Wal-Mart, buy the house brand toilet paper, use coupons, go to public pools (or schools), talk to homeless people, or buy Chinese products. I'd say most people have something that they're snobbish about. Mine is books. I acknowledge and embrace it, and now that I'm done qualifying my need to discriminate on the literary level I'll get to
my point.

So there's this massive bestseller that everyone has read- The Help. You may have heard of it. I think my dog has even re
ad it. I have yet to buy it or commit one way or the other, but I have to say I've become a little intrigued. I recently saw the trailer for the upcoming movie and thought, "I'm not going to go see this, but it might be an okay book."

The story itself seems interesting, but my concern, like always, is the quality of the writing. For some reason I feel co
mpelled to read it so that I can take a definite stance and move on. My gut feeling is that it's going to fall into the Water for Elephants category- an interesting story that is plot-driven, has slightly better than average writing, and is a relatively quick read. A palate cleanser between two more serious books, if you will (I learned so much from Top Chef).

You know you've read it. Thoughts? Yay or nay? I did notice that a lot of the negative reviews on Amazon criticized the way that the African American vernacular was handled, amongst some other complaints.

We'll see. But in the meantime I'll be shopping for cheap liquor at Wal-Mart with my coupons.


  1. I get what you mean about not wanting to read something that is too popular, but this one is probably worth it. I devour books and am only interested in the instant gratification. I may not remember everything that happens in the book, but I remember the feeling it gave me. Water for Elephants, gave me a "that was a good one" feeling. The Help gave me a "wow, that was really excellent." That's where I'm coming from. While I cannot give you a literary analysis, I can say it was a positive experience for me.

  2. Baldy: Majorly steep! The trail felt pretty well marked, but some of it is just shale (rocks). But it's totally awesome and worth it. I'd hike it with you.

  3. I was impressed at the writing in this book of popular fiction. Strong character development that carried the plot. (BTW, I agree with cathcinggrasshoppers about both The Help and Water for Elephants.)

  4. I'm with Deb and Cath. They are both enjoyable stories. I am on the fence about seeing the movies. I'll probably cave cause my daughter wants me to see them with her, but I like them the way I have them in my "head"!