I promise you, I wanted to hate The Help, Kathryn Stockett’s blockbuster novel about a white woman who pens a controversial, dangerous tome about the trials and tribulations of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. In fact, last year, while moderating Writing Across Racial Lines, a panel featuring best-selling crime fiction author Karin Slaughter (Broken), Mara Shalhoup (author of BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family) and Aliya S. King (Platinum), I'm pretty sure I questioned how effectively a white author could tell an authentic story about the lives of black women and why said authors always get major cash and all the glory for penning such novels while African American authors get absolutely no shine for writing similar stories about our experience told from our perspective.
But then I read Stockett's book. And the story just blew me away. I mean, I absolutely could not put the book down; the characters, the drama, the intrigue, the humor, the intense panic I felt for the maids who put their lives on the line to tell the stories all of it was downright addictive. For sure, I was mad when I got to the last page. I didn't want The Help to end.
But, come August, I get to relive the magic when The Help comes to the big screen starring our girl, Academy Award®“nominated Viola Davis (Doubt) as Aibileen, Octavia Spencer as the firecracker Minny (my personal favorite the one with the chocolate pie!) and Emma Stone as Skeeter. And guess what, sweeties? I got my hot little hands on the movie trailer special for the MyBrownBaby audience. Take a look enjoy!
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.
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Beautiful, thank you for posting. I’m hoping to get get a good response on people that want to go see it……..
Okay, I can’t front. The trailer is good. So why am I still crossing my arms across my chest like a bratty three year old and saying, nope, I won’t go see it.
I loved The Help. Thought it was achingly well-written. (I had one of those wish-I’d-written-it moments when I was done.)
And yet. And yet.
I’m still squirmy about seeing this movie. And I’m not sure why.
Aliya: OMGâ€”I had that same moment, too. Like, dangâ€”what a great idea… why didn’t someone African American think of that? The fact of the matter is, there HAVE been plenty of stories like this written by and from the perspective of black women authors. But they simply don’t get the same attention or the same praise as that which Kathryn received. As an author, that bothers me. But as a consumer of good stories, I can’t hold Kathryn responsible for it. She just did her thing in her book in her wayâ€”and I liked it. A lot.
Are you afraid maybe that the film won’t hold up to the book? It almost felt like it was written with a film in mind…
Thanks so much for saying that. I too loved The Help and I felt the need to defend my ‘choice’ on more than one ocassion. I had the same qualms as you, but when asked to review it by Amazon, I absolutely loved the story and could ‘see’ the characters…
I’ve never heard of “The Help” as a novel or film, but I’m gonna look into it now. Your initial version to it reminds me of how I first felt about “The Poisonwood Bible” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” TPB was an AMAZING read and I’m looking forward to re-reading it, which is something I rarely do for any book. The Bees though, was a horrible film (IMO), but I hear the book was great and does much better job at showing the humanity of the sisters.
Haven’t read the book yet, but I think I might have to download it from Amazon so I can have an accurate comparison when the movie hits theaters in August. Looks great!! 🙂
You know, I liked reading The Help too and like you Denene, the ending had me upset. I had the privilege of seeing the film a few weeks ago and well, I’ll let you decide if you like the adaptation. But I will say this, I don’t like how other sites are marketing it as Emma Stone’s movie and mentioning Viola Davis’s name in like the third graph. THANK YOU for including Viola’s name in your headline. This is her and Minny’s (played wonderfully by Octavia Spencer) movie!
My daughter-in-law, Summer, gave me the book for my birthday, so I read it and liked it, but then all the controversy came up on facebook. Summer knows the people involved with the production and she has just been excited the entire time and I keep being a “downer”, so I have have to say the trailer has me hooked @Denene. Oh I am in trouble now. Summer asked me again during Passover, what the problem was with the book…I tried explaining from my A-A friends point of view of FB, so now after all this, I probably will go see it when it comes out. Some great acting, I am sure. Think maybe I will have to offer to take Summer to see the movie – or at least send the tickets to go see the show! Signed: A very mixed up mother-in-law!
Thank you so much for posting this!! 5 minutes ago, I was just on another blog discussing the “Waiting the Exhale” sequel and why we as AA often support films; not because they are particularly great, but because those are the only options we have. Settling for the scrapes thrown on the floor, rather than fighting for our rightful place at the table.
Then I see this!! Thank you Denene!!
LOVED the book, and I hope the movie is just as good.
Yes this book was great! A true page turner, it reads like a non-fiction, though. I just recently read this book At the Dark End of the Street by Danielle McGuire, this book pretty much corresponds well with Kathyrn Stockett’s book-as it relates to AA women’s bodies the property of white people. I will probably wait until this movie goes to DVD before watching it. With certain movies (race related), I need to be in the confines of my own home to really take in everything.
I read The Help, got mad because it was so good and put it down. I have yet to finish it. White women were positively drooling at my job about the book and I disliked that. I feel as though nothing is our story any more if a white woman can get so much aclaim in writing our stories. It feels really painful for me. I will not see the movie.
I enjoyed the book as well but i wished it had a different ending. Maybe there will be a Part II.
I loved the book because of the women in it, not necessarily because of the woman who wrote it (although of course I have to be grateful to her for putting pen to paper!). It was inspired by people in her life, and the love she had for them came through on every page.
I will make time to go and see the movie with my girlfriends when it comes out.
After reading your post, I bought the book via an online bookstore. Today I received it, and proceeded to spend the next 7 hours on my sofa reading it. I loved it. I am not African-American, nor am I a mother, but I love your site, and even before this book I am indebted to you, for you have helped to open my world, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Our book club just read “The Help”. I am looking forward to the movie.