Book Review: The Help

The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Fiction
Number of Pages: 464
Where I Got It: A friend got it for me

First line: "Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960."

Told from the point of view of three different women, Kathryn Stockett's NY Times bestseller is an absolutely captivating story.

Set during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Minny and Aibileen are two African-American women who work as maids in the homes for two wealthy white families for women who have no problem letting them raise their children, yet can't fathom the idea of sharing even a bathroom with them.  Meanwhile, Skeeter (real name Eugenia and shoot I'd go by Skeeter too if that was my name) is recently graduated from college and is ready to do some really big things, which is tough to do when you're stuck in a town where all the women are in a hurry to just settle down and start having kids.

I know I just did this with my review of Columbine (which got a comment from the actual author!!), so here we go again.  Go out and buy and read this book immediately if you haven't yet.

I couldn't get through this one fast enough and will be adding this to both my list of all-time faves and my list of books I will most likely re-read sometime in the future.

The narration shifts throughout the story between Minny's voice, Aibileen's voice and Skeeter's voice and it worked perfectly.  Speaking through their different voices, Stockett really captured the fear, pride, love, frustration and every other feeling these women experienced throughout the story. I found myself smiling, close to tears, and with a racing heart at all of the appropriate times which I think speaks highly to how well-written this book is.

I really loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough.

Apparently they are turning it into a movie with Emma Stone (Superbad, Easy A) starring as Skeeter.  I am not happy with that decision mainly because in the book, Skeeter is described as being super tall and gangly with unruly frizzy hair - overall she's awkward.  Emma Stone is not. I'm very hesitant to see this movie after how much I loved/gushed over this book.

Carry on.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars (duh)

Coming Up Next: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (aka HP7)
Do I really need to put a synopsis here?  It's the last book of the Harry Potter series.

Five years after it was originally published, I am finally reading the last HP book.  NOTE TO READERS: Do not get cute and tell me what happens in the book.  I have gone five years without any idea as to how it all ends and if you ruin this for me, I will probably end our friendship. Real talk.  I have to read this now because the movie comes out on the 16th and all of my best friends in Sac are having a movie marathon leading up to going to see the last movie. 


Some Very Blah Movies to Review

I'm back from an awesome, relaxing week off in So Cal. My mom kept asking why I would use vacation days to just come home. My answer is threefold really: 1. homecooked, sometimes Cuban, meals; 2. the beach is three miles away; 3. my grandma takes me shopping. It's like a four-star vacation but I don't have to pay for anything.

Let's ease back into things with some movie reviews shall we?

The Hangover 2 - It had its moments but overall, I wasn't that impressed. It's just too hard to follow up the first one with anything as funny or creative. You could trace everything back to the first movie. For example (minor spoiler alert), they find a baby in the first movie that they carry around but in the second one it's a monkey. It had some laugh-out-loud moments, but overall it was just okay. One thumb down, one thumb sideways

Super 8 - A group of kids in a small town in Ohio in the 1970s witness an insane train crash which releases an alien into their town. Yeah. I summed this up to my dad in three words: E.T. on steroids. This one also was not that good, despite any rave reviews you may have seen. You can't just park an alien in the middle of 70s suburbia Ohio and expect things to work. The kids that star in this movie, however, were awesome and were the only thing that kept it all together. One thumb down, one thumb sideways

Due Date - A series of unfortunate events land Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifinakis on the no-fly list and they end up driving cross country together so RDJ can get home to his super-preggo wife. Zach G. was hysterical in this movie but RDJ was just okay as he went back and forth from crazy angry to super nice way too much for me. Two thumbs sideways

And finally a movie that didn't suck...

Despicable Me - I am probably the last person on the planet to see this movie but oh em gee this was the cutest movie everrrrr and will very soon become a permanent addition to Amanda's Collection of Super Girly Movies. Seriously I have the worst DVD collection ever if you're a dude. I LOVED this movie from start to finish. I even cried. Oh it was so so cute so if you haven't seen it yet, well you're worse than I am when it comes to watching movies. Go now!

And now, a random TV plug...

A new TV show was brought to my attention on Friday night and oh boy this is a good one. Brought to you by Ricky Gervais, I present "An Idiot Abroad".

Basically Ricky Gervais and his friend send their other friend to go see the 7 Wonders of the World and this guy's observations about what he sees are priceless. Apparently it airs on the Science channel so hopefully you get that.


New Amazing Link

I just happened to stumble upon this new blog and it's taking me all the self-control I possess not to burst out in a guffaw at my desk.

This one is mainly for the ladies, but guys the writing's funny enough to probably get a laugh out of you as well.

I present Go Fug Yourself.

For everything you've always thought about the terrible outfits celebrities come up with, yet couldn't really find the words for.




Video of the Day 6/9/11 - Thumbs Up for Rock and Roll Edition

This is pretty priceless.

Book Review: Columbine

Author: Dave Cullen
Genre: Nonfiction
Number of Pages: 464
Where I Got It: Library

First line: "He told them he loved them."

Journalist Dave Cullen spent 10 years collecting as much information as he could to piece together what really happened on that fateful day at Columbine High School.

If you think you're just getting another account of the shootings that happened at Columbine High School in April 1999, think again. Cullen has researched every main character, personality trait, supporting cast, event, and detail of the months leading up to and after the shootings that this book casts a whole new light on what happened, who was involved, and most importantly, why it all went down.

The most fascinating part of this book for me was how Cullen, a journalist who's written for the NY Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, dispelled all the rumors that the media latched on to and ran with.  And let me tell you, there were a lot of them. With virtually no facts to back themselves up, reporters cast Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as members of a Gothic cult called the Trenchcoat Mafia who targeted jocks and had been picked on and bullied throughout all of high school.  It was amazing how their rumors and misinformation led everyone astray, even the detectives of the case.  They relied heavily on the reports of the confused and shocked teenagers which made for missing facts and unreliable information.

As someone who works with the media almost daily, I've seen firsthand how one tiny piece of misinformation can snowball so to get inside the head of a journalist as he picked apart his own kind was captivating.

This book is just fantastic. It's raw and emotional and Cullen leaves literally no stone unturned nor does he leave any detail out in this NY Times Bestseller.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Coming Up Next: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Amazon's summary: Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.

My friend Hailey bought this book for me for my birthday or Christmas or something and swore it was one of the best she's ever read.  Hailey has never steered me wrong and has recommended some of my new all-time faves so I finally decided to pick it up and dust it off. I'm about 150 pages into it and I can already tell I'll be adding it to the list of books I will love forever.


Geeeeeez, Take it Easy Kim Kardashian

Take a deep breath before you read this next sentence because it might overwhelm you a little:

Kim Kardashian, who met and started dating NBA player Kris Humphries in December, became engaged to Humphries at the end of May and is now saying that she plans to be married and pregnant by the end of this year.

Girl. What is the rush? First your sister, now you?

An engagement after five months and now in seven months you plan on being married AND preggers?

I mean I guess when you know, you know. And when your mind, heart and body all agree that you're ready for this stuff, then go for it.

But I still don't get what the rush is.

Her sister Khloe met and married Lamar Odom after a MONTH. Granted, they are coming up on their two-year anniversary so maybe there was a method to their madness after all, but I still don't understand what the need is to speed things up so much. If you know, you know, so why not take the time to just enjoy each other?

Isn't that what is ultimately missing in these "courtships"? After five months, how can you possibly know what makes the person you want to spend the rest of your life with really tick? And how do you know that that's not going to conflict with how you really tick?

I get it. Kim K. is 30 and that is a stressful time in a woman's life. Shoot I'm about to be 27 and I'm semi-losing it. There's always been a certain pressure that is put on a woman to be married and have children by the time you reach that magical age.

But in the year 2011, is there really that same pressure anymore? If she was 40 I could understand her concern, but this isn't 1946 or even 1986 when not being married with kids by the time you're 30 was frowned upon.

She just seems like a very nice girl who does want to settle down, so at the end of the day I think it would suck if things didn't work out for her. Can't say I don't have doubts that this will all work out - he's a 26 year old forward for the Nets. I mean at least Lamar is a Laker. Also Kim, have you heard that the Nets are moving to Brooklyn? Yes that Brooklyn. I don't know if she can handle Brooklyn.

But, as always, best of luck to you Kimmy K. Maybe this one will work out, just like Khloe's. He does have the same name as your mom...



Huh? Them?

So I've been following this storyline for some time now because, well, frankly I can't believe it could have actually been true.

Did you guys know Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson were dating?

Yes that would be this Sean Penn and this Scarlett Johnansson (you're welcome dude readers).

Apparently they've split up after four months of quietly dating and taking a trip to Mexico together.

He is 50 and she is 26. She was just married to Ryan Reynolds. Yes, this Ryan Reynolds (you're welcome ladies).

Here's the thing. Girl you are Scarlett Johansson.  Do you understand what happens to guys when they see you? Probably the same thing that happens to girls when they see your ex-husband.  And you pick Sean Penn as your rebound?

I don't know, I just don't get it.  She can have literally any guys she wants and she picks him?  It just bugs me. Oh but he's so mature and wise and philosophical and blah blah blah.  You are Scarlett Johansson. Act accordingly and pick a hottie like you're supposed to do.


New Link

My friend Ashley has started her very own blog:


A collection of photos and videos of random things that make her smile - plus her cat Lila aka The Biscuit - she's not quite sure of the direction she's headed, but hopes you'll be along for the ride.


Yes Hello?

Note from the author: The title refers to how my dad and I answer the phone when we call each other.

Readers of Living the Dream, I have not forgotten you. I am in fact alive. Alive and well. Alive and very, very well. Life is awesome, not gonna lie. But I am very aware of how little blogging I've done in the last few weeks. And by little, I mean none.

The four of you who still check in with me deserve an explanation as to my recent whereabouts. So here it is.

1. I've been working. As most of you know my job isn't exactly your standard 9-5. Most days it's a 9ish to 5:30, oops I mean 6, shoot when did it get to be 6:30? Then there's the weekends. So I work a lot, we get it. But this time it isn't necessarily that I've been working a bunch of crazy hours or a million days in a row. This time I'm just doing more and have taken on more responsibilities. So I get tired and blogging is the last thing that I want to do.

2. I play a lot of soccer. I played in a weekend tournament in Sacramento in May and joined a new Sunday co-ed outdoor team. This same team wants me to play in a more advanced league in the middle of the week too. Then there's regular Thursday night indoor with my best friends. Another girl I know wants me to play Friday night but I'm on the fence about that one. It's pretty much all I do to work out and relieve the massive stress that I pile on myself during the week. Also it's bathing suit season. So I play a lot of soccer.

3. I am dating a very nice boy and I'd rather eat cheeseburgers with him than blog.

4. Because of the aforementioned very nice boy, Chloe has been receiving less attention so sometimes I need to snuggle with her. I mean look at this face:

5. Happy hours, Glee nights, and other random get togethers with my ladies also takes precedence over blogging.

So to sum up, I am busy. But I love my life right now. Davis is awesome, it's summer... or at least it's supposed to be considering we had hail in Davis today...

But I will be back.  Kardashians can't keep getting engaged without any word from LTD!