The Help – Reads and Reels!

The Help – Reads and Reels!

I’m so excited! One of our Reads is finally hitting the big screen. This one was near and dear to me when the book came out because it’s set in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. On Tuesday, Reads and Reels is checking out the screening. Afterward, we’re headed to Vinings Inn to partake in yummy southern fare and discuss the movie.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is set during the Civil Rights era and is narrated by three characters: two maids and a young white woman home fresh from college looking for a serious writing gig who ends up helping maids across Jackson tell their stories.

If you haven’t read the book, you should. It is a very enjoyable (and easy) read. The characters are very relatable–I guarantee your brain will be able to easily develop pictures and profiles of these characters–you may even be able to insert someone you already know into these roles. From the awkward and somewhat naive Skeeter to the uber bitchy and manipulative Hilly to the wise and nurturing Aibileen to the  sassy yet secretly fragile Minny. And I can’t forget the “new money” loud but sweet Celia. Stockett did a great job developing these characters and weaving stories to really draw readers into the lives of these characters.

Of course, because I’m me and I get so caught up in books, the couple of issues I had with the book nagged at me the whole time I was reading. These issues are:

  1. The only dialect the white characters had was “co-cola”. The black characters slurred/combined words the way many southerners do, so I felt that the dialogue of the white characters should have as well if Kathryn Stockett was going for the southern charm (big difference bw dialect and bad grammar and no matter who you are, rich, poor, educated, or not, if you live in MS esp back then, southern dialect prevailed so use it for everyone or not at all, IMO).
  2. The mothers of the characters were WAY TOO OLD. People weren’t having kids at 30 or 40 back then, seen in that the characters were super early 20s and starting families; but their moms were super old, decrepit, and on their death beds. I never grasped how this was possible!
  3. The story about Constantine, Skeeter’s childhood maid, at the end (no spoilers here) was just not compelling to me, especially after hearing so many stories of racial consequences as I grew up and still. I had been waiting the whole book for a major *pa-yow* and got *ting*.
  4. There were certain details that didn’t quite hit the mark historically-speaking. I tried to ignore it since it’s clear in most of the book that the author still doesn’t quite get the plight of blacks in the south at the time, but my radical side nodded when I read a few of the entries in this blog.

***EDIT (insert): I found this forum on Amazon, and it’s a reeeeeally interesting conversation about the issues that some readers have had with the book. Check it out as I am. 🙂 Esp if you liked the book but just didn’t feel warm and fuzzy when done with it***

So as I anticipate the book come to life, I’m hoping that the movie captures the complexity of Minny–she’s deliciously spunky but still delicate. I also hope that the movie shows a couple of the back stories of characters that weren’t major in the book, like the woman who stole the costume jewelry from that winch Hilly (you know a book has well-developed characters when you really feel true negativity toward a character!) to help pay for her twin boys to stay at Tougaloo (HOLLA!) and ended up catching holy hell because of it.

Can you tell that I am soooooooooo excited to see the movie? After spending time casting actresses with my fellow readers, I’m looking forward to seeing the official cast and the movie interpretation. What about you?

What did you think of the book? What are you expecting of the movie?