Book Reviews: The Help

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Putnam)

Kathryn Stockett’s The Help has been a New York Times bestseller over a year. The Jackson, Miss., native’s first novel has become the selection of book clubs, the object of long library waiting lists and the subject of passionate blogs. Why?

Stockett captures the feel of the Old South just before passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She fills the book with clear, beautiful imagery and the voices of three women—two black maids and a recent University of Mississippi graduate. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan begins to question her affluent, white values and aspires to anonymously publish Aibileen’s and Minny’s stories along with those of nine other Jackson “help.”

The sobering, funny, heart-wrenching novel puts a human face on ugly times when white women shared their children and homes with black women but refused to share their schools, libraries, churches, lunch counters, drinking fountains, plates, cups or bathrooms.

Kathryn pens a powerful message about help and the help. After spending countless hours with Aibileen, Skeeter finally understands, “…Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

Don’t wait for the movie. Read The Help—discomforting feelings, watery eyes and all.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas, Waco

Finding God in Hidden Places by Joni Eareckson Tada (Harvest House Publishers)

Joni Eareckson Tada unfolds, in her own unique way, how she has found her Lord in strange places. Her chapters revolve around people and places as well as happenings. She talks about times when you need God most and when you least expect him and in times of humility. She wraps her thoughts around special key verses and sometimes quotes from well-known spiritual authors from the past.

This book is her testimony of how God has taught her the truth of Hebrews 5:8, where Jesus “learned obedience from what he suffered.” From her more than 40 years of life as a quadriplegic, she reveals her acquaintance with the suffering and shows how her Lord has shown himself as the Master Teacher. She is able to show the reader in very clear ways how God has been there for her and will be there for you as well.

The author also shares her giftedness as an artist by filling this small volume with her own artwork. You will find yourself laughing, crying, and always rejoicing to see how Tada found God in strange hidden places. You also will realize that her God is yours, as well, ready to show himself in the hidden places of your life.

You will be blessed over and again as you read this tiny volume. It will be one you will go to over and again to be encouraged.

Leo Smith, executive director

Texas Baptist Men, Dallas

Sacred Waiting by David Timms (Bethany House)

David Timms turns on its head the notion that waiting on God is like all the other waiting we do. While few enjoy waiting in lines or putting off anything we want to a later date, Timms submits that waiting on God should be different. Rather than a passive state where nothing much is happening, he says, waiting on God should be much closer to the duties a waiter in a restaurant performs.

Like any good waiter, we should be present and always seeking to be of service. Active waiting allows us to serve God rather than be impatient about what hasn’t happened. Timms says this active, sacred waiting is vital to our spiritual maturing process.

To make his point, he recounts the lives of Abraham, Moses, David and others who saw their lives changed through their active service to God when their futures had not yet been shown them.

This book is not a challenge to read, but putting the principles set forth here into action may be a little harder. It is easy to see, however, the efficacy of service to God and maintaining a life lived in his presence over a life of fretting and impatience over what we might perceive as slowness in the working of God in our lives and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

George Henson, staff writer

Baptist Standard, Dallas



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