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The Help
 
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The Help [Format Kindle]

Kathryn Stockett
4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (81 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Two days later, I sit in my parent's kitchen, waiting for dusk to fall. I give in and light another cigarette even though last night the surgeon general came on the television set and shook his finger at everybody, trying to convince us that smoking will kill us. But Mother once told me tongue kissing would turn me blind and I'm starting to think it's all just a big plot between the surgeon general and Mother to make sure no one ever has any fun.

At eight o'clock that same night, I'm stumbling down Aibileen's street as discreetly as one can carrying a fifty-pound Corona typewriter. I knock softly, already dying for another cigarette to calm my nerves. Aibileen answers and I slip inside. She's wearing the same green dress and stiff black shoes as last time.

I try to smile, like I'm confident it will work this time, despite the idea she explained over the phone. "Could we…;sit in the kitchen this time?" I ask. "Would you mind?"

"Alright. Ain't nothing to look at, but come on back."

The kitchen is about half the size of the living room and warmer. It smells like tea and lemons. The black-and-white linoleum floor has been scrubbed thin. There's just enough counter for the china tea set. I set the typewriter on a scratched red table under the window. Aibileen starts to pour the hot water into the teapot.

"Oh, none for me, thanks," I say and reach in my bag. "I brought us some Co-Colas if you want one." I've tried to come up with ways to make Aibileen more comfortable. Number One: Don't make Aibileen feel like she has to serve me.

"Well, ain't that nice. I usually don't take my tea till later anyway." She brings over an opener and two glasses. I drink mine straight from the bottle and seeing this, she pushes the glasses aside, does the same.

I called Aibileen after Elizabeth gave me the note, and listened hopefully as Aibileen told me her idea—for her to write her own words down and then show me what she's written. I tried to act excited. But I know I'll have to rewrite everything she's written, wasting even more time. I thought it might make it easier if she could see it in type-face instead of me reading it and telling her it can't work this way.

We smile at each other. I take a sip of my Coke, smooth my blouse. "So…;" I say.

Aibileen has a wire-ringed notebook in front of her. "Want me to…;just go head and read?"

"Sure," I say.

We both take deep breaths and she begins reading in a slow, steady voice.

"My first white baby to ever look after was named Alton Carrington Speers. It was 1924 and I'd just turned fifteen years old. Alton was a long, skinny baby with hair fine as silk on a corn…;"

I begin typing as she reads, her words rhythmic, pronounced more clearly than her usual talk. "Every window in that filthy house was painted shut on the inside, even though the house was big with a wide green lawn. I knew the air was bad, felt sick myself…;"

"Hang on," I say. I've typed wide greem. I blow on the typing fluid, retype it. "Okay, go ahead."

"When the mama died, six months later," she reads, "of the lung disease, they kept me on to raise Alton until they moved away to Memphis. I loved that baby and he loved me and that's when I knew I was good at making children feel proud of themselves…;"

I hadn't wanted to insult Aibileen when she told me her idea. I tried to urge her out of it, over the phone. "Writing isn't that easy. And you wouldn't have time for this anyway, Aibileen, not with a full-time job."

"Can't be much different than writing my prayers every night."

It was the first interesting thing she'd told me about herself since we'd started the project, so I'd grabbed the shopping pad in the pantry. "You don't say your prayers, then?"

"I never told nobody that before. Not even Minny. Find I can get my point across a lot better writing em down."

"So this is what you do on the weekends?" I asked. "In your spare time?" I liked the idea of capturing her life outside of work, when she wasn't under the eye of Elizabeth Leefolt.

"Oh no, I write a hour, sometimes two ever day. Lot a ailing, sick peoples in this town."

I was impressed. That was more than I wrote on some days. I told her we'd try it just to get the project going again.

Aibileen takes a breath, a swallow of Coke, and reads on.

She backtracks to her first job at thirteen, cleaning the Francis the First silver service at the governor's mansion. She reads how on her first morning, she made a mistake on the chart where you filled in the number of pieces so they'd know you hadn't stolen anything.

"I come home that morning, after I been fired, and stood outside my house with my new work shoes on. The shoes my mama paid a month's worth a light bill for. I guess that's when I understood what shame was and the color of it too. Shame ain't black, like dirt, like I always thought it was. Shame be the color of a new white uniform your mother ironed all night to pay for, white without a smudge or a speck a work-dirt on it."

Aibileen looks up to see what I think. I stop typing. I'd expected the stories to be sweet, glossy. I realize I might be getting more than I'd bargained for. She reads on.

"…;so I go on and get the chiffarobe straightened out and before I know it, that little white boy done cut his fingers clean off in that window fan I asked her to take out ten times. I never seen that much red come out a person and I grab the boy, I grab them four fingers. Tote him to the colored hospital cause I didn't know where the white one was. But when I got there, a colored man stop me and say, Is this boy white?" The typewriter keys are clacking like hail on a roof. Aibileen is reading faster and I am ignoring my mistakes, stopping her only to put in another page. Every eight seconds, I fling the carriage aside.

"And I says Yessuh, and he say, Is them his white fingers? And I say, Yessuh, and he say, Well you better tell them he your high yellow cause that colored doctor won't operate on a white boy in a Negro hospital. And then a white policeman grab me and he say, Now you look a here—"

She stops. Looks up. The clacking ceases.

"What? The policeman said look a here what?"

"Well, that's all I put down. Had to catch the bus for work this morning."

I hit the return and the typewriter dings. Aibileen and I look each other straight in the eye. I think this might actually work.

Chapter 12

Every other night for the next two weeks, I tell Mother I'm off to feed the hungry at the Canton Presbyterian Church, where we, fortunately, know not a soul. Of course she'd rather I go down to the First Presbyterian, but Mother's not one to argue with Christian works and she nods approvingly, tells me on the side to make sure I wash my hands thoroughly with soap afterward.

Hour after hour, in Aibileen's kitchen, she reads her writing and I type, the details thickening, the babies' faces sliding into focus. At first, I'm disappointed that Aibileen is doing most of the writing, with me just editing. But if Missus Stein likes it, I'll be writing the other maids' stories and that will be more than enough work. If she likes it…; I find myself saying this over and over in my head, hoping it might make it so.

Aibileen's writing is clear, honest. I tell her so.

"Well, look who I been writing to." She chuckles. "Can't lie to God."

Before I was born, she actually picked cotton for a week at Longleaf, my own family's farm. Once she lapses into talking about Constantine without my even asking.

"Law, that Constantine could sing. Like a purebred angel standing in the front a the church. Give everbody chills, listening to that silky voice a hers and when she wouldn't sing no more after she had to give her baby to—" She stops. Looks at me.

She says, "Anyway."

I tell myself not to press her. I wish I could hear everything she knows about Constantine, but I'll wait until we've finished her interviews. I don't want to put anything between us now.

"Any word from Minny yet?" I ask. "If Missus Stein likes it," I say, practically chanting the familiar words, "I just want to have the next interview set up and ready."

Aibileen shakes her head. "I asked Minny three times and she still say she ain't gone do it. I spec it's time I believed her."

I try not to show my worry. "Maybe you could ask some others? See if they're interested?" I am positive that Aibileen would have better luck convincing someone than I would.

Aibileen nods. "I got some more I can ask. But how long you think it's gone take for this lady to tell you if she like it?"

I shrug. "I don't know. If we mail it next week, maybe we'll hear from her by mid-February. But I can't say for sure." Aibileen presses her lips together, looks down at her pages. I see something that I haven't noticed before. Anticipation, a glint of excitement. I've been so wrapped up in my own self, it hasn't occurred to me that Aibileen might be as thrilled as I am that an editor in New York is going to read her story. I smile and take a deep breath, my hope growing stronger.

On our fifth session, Aibileen reads to me about the day Treelore died. She reads about how his broken body was thrown on the back of a pickup by the white foreman. "And then they dropped him off at the colored hospital. That's what the nurse told me, who was standing outside. They rolled him off the truck bed and the white men drove away." Aibileen doesn't cry, just lets a parcel of time pass while I stare at the typewriter, she at the worn black tiles.

On the sixth session, Aibileen says, "I went to work for Miss Leefolt in 1960. When Mae Mobley two weeks old," and I feel I've passed through a leaden gate of confidence. She describes the building of the garage bathroom, admits she is glad it is there now. It's easier than listening to Hilly complain about sharing a toilet with the maid. She tells me that I once commented that colored people attend too much church. That stuck with her. I cringe, wondering what else I've said, never suspecting the help was listening or cared.

One night she says, "I was thinking…;" But then she stops.

I look up from the typewriter, wait. It took Aibileen vomiting on herself for me to learn to let her take her time.

"I's thinking I ought to do some reading. Might help me with my own writing."

"Go down to the State Street Library. They have a whole room full of Southern writers. Faulkner, Eudora Welty—"

Aibileen gives me a dry cough. "You know colored folks ain't allowed in that library."

I sit there a second, feeling stupid. "I can't believe I forgot that." The colored library must be pretty bad. There was a sit-in at the white library a few years ago and it made the papers. When the colored crowd showed up for the sit-in trial, the police department simply stepped back and turned the German shepherds loose. I look at Aibileen and am reminded, once again, the risk she's taking talking to me. "I'll be glad to pick the books up for you," I say.

Aibileen hurries to the bedroom and comes back with a list. "I better mark the ones I want first. I been on the waiting list for To Kill a Mockingbird at the Carver Library near bout three months now. Less see…;"

I watch as she puts checkmarks next to the books: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois, poems by Emily Dickinson (any), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

"I read some a that back in school, but I didn't get to finish." She keeps marking, stopping to think which one she wants next.

"You want a book by…;Sigmund Freud?"

"Oh, people crazy." She nods. "I love reading about how the head work. You ever dream you fall in a lake? He say you dreaming about your own self being born. Miss Frances, who I work for in 1957, she had all them books."

On her twelfth title, I have to know. "Aibileen, how long have you been wanting to ask me this? If I'd check these books out for you?"

"A while." She shrugs. "I guess I's afraid to mention it."

"Did you…;think I'd say no?"

"These is white rules. I don't know which ones you following and which ones you ain't."

We look at each other a second. "I'm tired of the rules," I say.

Aibileen chuckles and looks out the window. I realize how thin this revelation must sound to her.

Revue de presse

The other side of Gone with the Wind - and just as unputdownable (The Sunday Times )

A big, warm girlfriend of a book (The Times )

Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird has changed lives. It's direct descendent The Help has the same potential . . . an astonishing feat of accomplishment (Daily Express )

Outstanding, immensely funny, very compelling, brilliant (Daily Telegraph )

Immensely readable (Observer )

Daring, vitally important and very courageous, I loved and admired The Help. Fantastic (Marian Keyes )

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1263 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 476 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (23 juillet 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002RI97LG
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (81 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°4.928 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Kathryn Stockett a grandi à Jackson. Elle vit actuellement à Atlanta avec son mari et leur fille, et travaille à l'écriture de son deuxième roman. La Couleur des sentiments a obtenu le Grand Prix Littéraire du Web, catégorie meilleur roman étranger.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
55 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Change we can believe in 28 août 2010
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
"The Help", c'est à la fois la femme de ménage et cuisinière noire au service des blancs dans le Mississippi des années 1960, et surtout - thème du roman - l'entraide qui va permettre aux personnages féminins d'affronter les pesanteurs et injustices de la ségrégation et du racisme.
Ce qui est le plus réussi selon moi : d'une part, la grande richesse des personnages principaux (deux Noires et une Blanche), et leur interaction ; d'autre part, la description piquée de détails très intéressants de la société US dans un lieu et à une époque déterminées.
Je reprocherais un certain "politiquement correct" et un certain manichéisme, qui déséquilibrent un peu le récit. Sauf rares exceptions, les femmes noires sont toutes courageuses et futées, les femmes blanches idiotes et harpies. J'aurais par exemple aimé un peu mieux mieux comprendre comment et pourquoi s'était bâti et surtout maintenu, chez les Blancs, ce mépris mêlé de peur vis-à-vis de leurs concitoyens Noirs. De même l'auteur n'évoque aucun personnage masculin noir, hormis le mari d'une des protagonistes, violent et alcoolique.
Un bon niveau d'anglais est requis. Le langage est relativement familier, et si quelques expressions et termes d'argot m'ont un peu échappé, le plaisir de la lecture n'en est pas du tout diminué.
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30 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Je recommanderai ce roman dans réserve à tous.

L'auteur parle avec talent des relations entre les aisées et leurs domestiques (The Help) à Jackson, Mississippi au début des années 1960. Elle raconte le courage, la dignité et même la noblesse d'esprit et de coeur dont les êtres humains quelque soir leur "couleur" sont capables, même en face de règles qui régentent toute la société d'une petite ville du sud des Etats-Unis à l'époque.

Ce qui m'a particulièrement frappé, c'est l'amour entre beaucoup de ces femmes noires domestiques et les enfants blancs qu'elles élévaient à la place de leur maman (dont la vie se passit en shopping, matches de bridges, évenements charitables pour lever des fonds pour nourrir "les pauvres enfants affamés d'Afrique" (quelle ironie!).

Si vous pouvez le lire en anglais, c'est mieux, car la narration est parfois des domestiques ("maids") noires elles-même, un transcription de leur manière de parler...

Je suis américaine vivant en France depuis 40 ans et, même en tant que "nordiste, j'ai bien connu cette époque. Je suis fière d'avoir marché avec Martin Luther King contre la ségrégation "de facto" des écoles à Boston.

Bonne lecture. Vous ne serez plus le/la même après avoir lu ce livre.
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14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Maybe the new 'To kill a mocking bird' 28 juin 2010
Par Felwine VOIX VINE
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Ce livre a eu et continue d'avoir un énorme succès aux Etats-Unis. J'ai pourtant hésité à l'acheter, en me disant que le thème avait déjà été abordé maintes fois , puis finalement je me suis lancée et ne le regrette pas une seconde.
On connait déjà l'Histoire, on connait déjà le contexte et pourtant ce livre offre plus: le style de l'auteure, 'witty', teinté d'ironie, les personnages du livre et pas seulement les principaux, profonds, drôles, forts auxquelles (les femmes sont à l'honneur dans ce roman) on s'attache. La fin n'est pas inattendue et pourtant je n'ai pas lâché le livre du week-end.
Une chose m'a cependant dérangé, l'accumulation des clichés de la communauté noire américaine (où est-ce justifié?) mais ne m'a pas empêché d'aimer ce livre.
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10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What a story! 28 février 2011
Par Jac
Format:Broché
Extraordinaire histoire, captivante d'un bout a l'autre. A book you can't put down, you are so anxious to find out what happens. And when you get to the last line you want to know more. You have become so attached to the characters you want to keep on hearing about them as you would friends.
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9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent! 13 mai 2011
Par Cape Hope
Format:Broché
Livre vraiment très divertissant et qui fait aussi réfléchir, avec des détails intéressants sur les USA du début des années 1960. Le top de ce que j'ai lu récemment!
Ce sont trois femmes qui racontent l'histoire, donc trois points de vue différents et très particuliers, sans chevauchement. Chacune reprend là où la précédente a terminé, donc il n'y a pas de redites et on ne s'ennuie pas. A lire cet été, d'autant que ça se dévore facilement :-)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 ATTENTION 9 janvier 2013
Par Hélène
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Très déçue par ce livre.
Les caractères sont en effet illisibles tellement petits !!!
Il y avait bien quelques remarques d'acheteurs à ce sujet, mais on ne sait finalement pas quelle version on va recevoir. Et j'avais très envie de le lire en VO.
Donc je précise, c'est bien la version dont l'image figure sur le site que l'on reçoit, rien à voir avec le contenu quand on feuillette en ligne.D'ailleurs cela n'est pas normal et de ce point de vue AMAZON me déçoit, car même s'il y a une précision à ce sujet sur le site, on ne peut pas se rendre compte de la petitesse des caractères.
Bref pour les futurs acheteurs, méfiance, cette version de l'éditeur PENGUIN est complètement illisible.
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une lecture plaisante
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Très bon moment de lecture assuré ! on rit , on verse quelques larmes aussi et on apprend plein de choses !
Allez-y les yeux fermés !
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Superbe histoire et très bon style. Roman drôle et émouvant à la fois. Très bon livre à lire et à relire.
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