The Help

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Alright, it’s been awhile since my last post, but hoping to develop a new routine soon! Late summer/early fall with traveling, family visits, weddings, and job changes! During a recent trip to Illinois to see my family, I managed to pick up a copy of Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel, The Help. The Help recounts the story of Skeeter Phelan, a young white woman living in Jackson, Mississippi in the midst of the Civil Rights movement and Jim Crow laws. Skeeter dreams of breaking free and moving to New York to become a serious journalist. Hoping to prove herself to a tough New York editor, Skeeter decides to write about the experiences of the “colored help,” and the project has a greater impact than what anyone could have imagined.

You may be familiar with the 2011 film, which received rave reviews and had a star line-up.

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I enjoyed the film very much, but as in most film adaptation scenarios, the book is so much better! And more nuanced. I really appreciated the character development and insight. The Minnie Jackson /Celia Foote relationship is particularly interesting. It’s more complicated, messy, and human. And unlike the movie would lead you to believe, I don’t think they’re destined to become the best of friends in the end. Their relationship is just not that convenient and tidy. And unfortunately, (and this is possibly a spoiler alert), Skeeter’s mother never has the moment of truth confrontation with Hilly that finally redeems her in our eyes. I know this scene was so satisfying in the film, but it simply never happens in the book.

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All in all though both the book and film are worth your time. I read through the book fairly quick and would definitely recommend it as a travel/beach/rainy day read.

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