I never knew why I have never reviewed the book The Help by Katheryn Stockett as I read it quite a while ago and absolutely loved it. Gave it 5 stars, recommended it to everyone I could possibly think of to recommend it to.
Now I know why. Because I was waiting for the movie to come out, so I could review both at the same time. I almost feel the need to review them both at the same time, because they seem like two halves of a whole to me. I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a movie based on a book that I’ve read that made me feel like this one did. I truly felt like it was an extension of the book. And I loved it.
The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962. It revolves around three main characters, and is told in each of their voices. Skeeter, a white, 22 year old woman who just graduated from college, comes home to get a job at the local newspaper. She has dreams of being a journalist, a novelist, both. She is idealistic, and has huge dreams for herself, way beyond the small town and her “friends” there that live their lives around their bridge club, and the white society that they have built up for themselves.
The other two characters in the story are Aibileen and Minnie. They are two black maids that work for white families in the town. The line between the black folk and the white folk is drawn so carefully, and observed so firmly, that it is enough to make you so incredibly angry at some parts at the ignorance and audacity of some of these people and the way they think. Though it was so common in the South at the time.
I won’t ruin the story, but it basically centers around Skeeter wanting to write a book about “The Help” and how they are treated in Jackson. There is a ton of back story, so much to this story, and it is written using the voices of three very different women, who come together to do something that will maybe, hopefully, make a difference.
I loved this book so much. I loved how each woman’s voice was so distinctive. Even though her name was written at the top of each chapter, it was written with such individuality that it was unnecessary.
This movie I felt really did the book justice. They did take some liberties with the story, and changed things around, as they often do when making a movie, but these didn’t bother me at all and I’m sure were mostly done due to time constraints. It would be impossible to fit all the bits of story into a two and a half hour movie. It would be more like a mini-series. But the casting choices were bang on I thought. There were many familiar faces. All of them perfect for the roles they were chosen for.
Read it. See it. That is all.