Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The movie, The Help has just opened in theatres. As is often the case, the movie is based on a bestselling novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.

Eugenia, “Skeeter” Phelan has just returned home after graduating. She is bored with the “country club” of “white” Jackson, Mississippi and longs to be a writer. Encouraged by a New York editor to “write about what she knows”, she decides to write a book about the experiences of “the help”. It is the early 60s and the mainly black servants have much to tell – if Skeeter can persuade them to talk. Jobs are not that easy to find in Jackson, Mississippi, especially if you’re black. They meet secretly and we learn a great deal about what life was like. Black servants were trusted to raise the white children but, in some cases, were not allowed to use the same bathroom as their white employers. Eventually, the book is published and causes upheaval in white society.

One comment I’ve heard is that the book delves much deeper into the gritty details of life in the south than the movie does. The library owns several copies of The Help, so reserve one today.

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