Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book to Movie, part 2

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
I have had every intention of reading this wonderful book since I first heard about it, I believe in 2009. A friend told me her mother was reading it and was enjoying it a great deal. I did not get to read the book in 2009. The book was brought to my attention again in 2010 when it was placed on the first Texas Lariat Reading List (2010). I did not get to read the book in 2010 either. Now it is 2011 and I have seen a trailer advertising this book will be released as a movie in August. Well, I couldn't have the movie come out and expect to go see it (which I really want to do) until I have read the book. This way I can say, that's not how it was written in the book! I love to find the anomalies in movies.

It seems that everyone (or just about everyone) I have talked has already read this book. Okay, I was a few years behind, but oh man, oh man am I glad I finally made the time to read it. In fact I spent more time on this book than either other this summer. I wanted to relish in the character's descriptions and "their stories". I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with the compassion of some of the characters and despised the hate and cruelty depicted by others.

I can't imagine treating another human being, especially someone I have brought into my home, in the manner in which some of the "white" women were treating their "help". It just does not make any sense to me. I know times were very different in the 1960, especially in southern states like Mississippi. [Well, according to a friend (of color) times might not have changed so very much based on the treatment she and her husband ("white") experienced when driving through Mississippi about 15 years ago.] I have read books, seen movies, and heard about the civil rights movement, but this book seem to show a side I had never thought about, let alone experienced.

I was not raised in a household with any kind of domestic help. In fact this seems like a foreign concept to me, having someone come into your home to clean, cook, and raise your children. I know I am not the best at doing any of those things, but I really can't see paying someone to come into my home and do those things for me (not that I wouldn't love it on some days, like the first day of school or Thursday evenings!). I know my grandmother had a maid named Bernice. I don't really know a lot about her, in fact the only story I really remember hearing was about her drinking the cooking sherry. I couldn't even tell you her last name, what she looked like, or anything else. I don't think she was working for my grandmother after I was born. I believe there would have been a least a few pictures of her holding me. I don't think my grandmother would have fit into any of the chapters in The Help, at least I hope not. It would make me really sad.

I loved the way the chapters were written from the perspective of the different characters. There was no need for an all seeing / knowing narrator because the characters themselves could tell their story and everything about what was happening in their lives and in their work place. I really wanted to hear more of their stories. I actually wanted to read the finally book in order to really get a more rounded feel of all of the maids and their different work households. I was as encouraged by the uplifting stories of the women of the house, as I was disheartened by the villainous acts of women to their hired help.

Loved, loved, loved this book and I am anxious to see the movie. I know it will not be as good as the book (or the movie I have already created in my mind while reading the book), but I will go see it any way.

After reading this book, I know one thing is for sure... I will never be able to look at chocolate pie the same way again!

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