Up to the screen - The Help

Finally - the second issue of this new series on this blog featuring books that became films.

Today I will present a more recent book (and film): 

THE HELP (2009) by Kathryn Stockett.

In an nut-shell

Jackson, Mississippi - 1962: Skeeter is a 22 year old woman - and she is very much aware that she isn't born to be a beauty queen: her hair is too unmanageable and she is way too tall.. Besides: unlike the other females of her age (and all of her friends of course) she does want to write instead of becoming a mother and housewife. It's not like she is all against it - it's just not the way she wants to be and that much to the chagrin of her mother.. Oh - and Skeeter is going to write: She will write the real stories of the black House maids who are working for her friends and other families. Those who take care of so many little white babies while their own are taken of care by others. Those who shall be invisible as possible - and for sure it would be better when they'll have their own lavatories.. (...) 

Two of those maids are Aibileen who's son died early and who by now takes care of the 17th little white child (a cutie called Mae Mobley..) - and Minnie who's big mouth just led to her losing her last job. Of course all interviews have to stay a secret just like their identities - because at this point in history they could not only cost them their reputation but way more..

~ The Italian Cover  ~

The author - also just in a nut-shell:

~ Kathryn Stockett - source: NY Times ~
  • Kathryn Stockett was born and grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. 
  • She studied English Literatur and moved to New York (you might see a parallel to Skeeter in the book..)
  • For nine years she worked at magazines. 
  • By now she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and daughter.
  • THE HELP is her first novel. In 2011 it was made into a film.
  • According to Goodreads.com she is working on her next novel.
  • Here is the link to her page: KathrynStockett.com

~ The German title is a euphemism for servants. It means:  Good ghosts... ~

My thoughts about the book... ...and film:

I enjoyed both though I have to admit that especially the book (I watched the film some months after reading the book - so I was already biased there..) is at parts quite foreseeable and it's filled with clichées. It is really an easy read and that Aibileen, Minnie and Skeeter are telling from their point of view by turns so that you'll have three "narrators" adds an interesting twist. It is a really enjoyable book which won't give you a headache - and it is at parts really exciting. Not of the heartattack kind of exciting though - but .. well.. it's nice.. 

~ The Dutch cover - the title says: "A scullery-maid"

I think it's one of those simple summer reads filled with likeable characters - well.. almost all are.. but to be true: the meanie is a bit unidemensional..

About that famous "chocolate-pie episode": I can see why Ms. Stockett needed it here for the story - but I just wished it would have been something less silly and more elegant as a solution.. I've been told that some of my friends wouldn't eat a chocolate pie after reading this book - I can't say anything about that for I never was too fond of chocolate - so it did not mean a thing to me..

~ The Swedish Cover.. ~

Though the book was a little bit unaspiring in my opinion - I think I will read it again at some point because it really is a nice read. Nothing against some fluff literature at times.. And I think it's a good thing to have an easy read about such an important theme like racism - or the role of females in the early 1960s.. Awareness doesn't have to wear glasses all the time.. - agree?

And to be honest: I loved that the end wasn't too kitschy!

~ The Spanish cover saying: "Maidservants and mistresses" ~

My favourite character was Celia (unsettled - busty - completely unaware of unwritten rules - always just a smithereen next to style..) to whom I really could relate.. In the film she was played by Jessica Chastain - and also in the film she was my favourite character.. Skeeter reminded me a lot of a good friend of me - who is also quite tall and frequently struggling with her hair.. (In case you read this, dear: I LOVE your hair! It's beautiful!)

The film has of course some meanderings - e.g. the problems between Skeeter and her mother are a bit shortened. It has a great cast and I really recommend the film - just by the way: Kathryn Stockett appears in a small part, too.. 

Here you can have a look:

Thank you very much for listening!

Yours very well and truly,