“You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” is one of the memorable quotes to take away from Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, a historical-fiction centred around the civil rights movement of the 1960s in racially conflicted Mississippi.
After I watched the movie starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone (favourites of mine), I read the book and enjoyed it just as much.
Stockett delves into the life and relationship of black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, with Skeeter Phelan, a white upper-middle-class twenty-something. An aspiring writer hell-bent on helping the underdog, Skeeter helps the women tell their story in a book she titles The Help.
The characters are engaging and likable. Stockett does a good job of intertwining the characters and events of the time. The relationships and 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 a realistic account of the women’s struggles.
The story is centred around 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 character’s inspiration 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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