The Help

Bob Hatcher

August 12, 2011       

The Help is an incredible book that could serve as inspiration to aspiring writers. This wildly successful book was rejected 60 times before being published in 2009.  It is set in Jackson, Mississippi where the author, Kathryn Stockett, grew up.

          Kathryn Stockett graduated from the University of Alabama worked in magazine publishing for a decade in New York City and now lives in Atlanta. 

Set in the 1960’s and early seventies, The Help refers to black women working for white Junior League women in Jackson, Mississippi. While it is fiction it is based on powerful human interactions comparable to interactions that actually did happen.

The book made me laugh out loud, cry, and reflect seriously on how people relate to one another. Some of the relationships are as beautiful as relationships could possibly be while others portray people at their very worst. Some of the assaults on human dignity were small, as small as beginning an order with the words: “Go get it now.” Rather than “Please go get my lovely little daughter now, Minnie.” Or failing ever to say please or thank you. Other assaults to human dignity were simply deplorable.

While describing attitudes, values, prejudices, hopes and fears 50 years ago, the relationships Stockett described also occurred 100, 500 and 1,000 years ago and are still occurring in myriad ways today.

The Help is an incredibly thought provoking book. And I saw the movie on its second day out. The movie has the same title. The book is a quick read so you can hotfoot it over to Prater’s Main Street Books on North Main Street and then go see the characters in the movie.  The movie sticks remarkably closely to the storyline in the book and early reviews are very good.

Don’t go near that movie without Kleenex.