“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” This is one of the many quotes to take away from Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, a historical-fiction centered around the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi.
I read the book after I watched the movie starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone (favorites of mine) and enjoyed it just as much.
Stockett delves into the life/relationship of black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson with that of Skeeter Phelan a white upper-middle-class twenty-two-year-old aspiring writer hell-bent on helping the underdog tell their story of how they are affected by race and class in the pages of a book she titles The Help.
The characters are really well done. Stockett does a good job of intertwining the characters and the events of the time. The relationships, and the lives of all the characters—white, black, rich and poor, the disenfranchised, and the one white woman who is a combination of all and seems to fit nowhere—stirs emotion and depicts the women’s struggles.
The Help is about race and feminism. It’s about love and friendship and how one person can move mountains for the many.
FUN FACT: The real nanny who worked for the Stockett family and the inspiration for the character for the book filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the author after seeing the movie. She claimed Kathryn Stockett used her likeness in the book, and its movie adaptation, without her consent and that the portrayal of her was “embarrassing.”
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