Dec 26, 2011

The Help

I'm a huge book snob.  If a book I've read and loved becomes a movie, I want to hate the movie (though "Hugo" was surprisingly wonderful) and if a book I haven't read becomes a movie, I never want to read the book and appear as if I've jumped on the bandwagon.  It's tough.

I kept seeing people reading The Help on the T every day, and each time I could only think of the SNL Weekend Update bit with Tyler Perry (aka Kenan from "Kenan and Kel") where he says "Oh yes, 'The Help!' A film that teaches black women the lesson that if you work hard enough and hum loud enough, Emma Stone will come and save you."  And I would chuckle to myself and keep reading whatever children's book I had with me that day. 

But my grandmother, whom I love dearly, read and recommended The Help to me, and as someone who bought me give or take 1 zillion books when I was growing up, I always read what she recommends.  Plus, I'm a sucker for female empowerment stories, even ones where girls decide they don't want to complain about being single, but want to get a job and just complain about that instead. 

It's.So.Good.  A girl called Skeeter (because, why not?) wants to make it as a serious writer and needs a controversial topic to write about to break into the business.  She interviews black maids and writes their stories, as well as her own, in a book to exploit the horrors of segregation in Mississippi.  But by the end, of course, it's less about her finding success and more about her really wanting to help the women she writes about.

Without getting into the argument over whether or not a white author has the authority to present black point of views, the multiple point of views is the best part about the book.  The only addition that would make it better would be the perspectives of a racist character and a man so it'd be slightly more balanced, but still, it's effective.  Also, the romance bits sometimes seem out of place, but they help to highlight the severe flaws in most of the white characters. 

Who won't like this: Racists.  Sadly, they probably need it the most. 

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