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User Topic: "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
Thriving
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Member # 4770
Default  Posted: 9:07 PM, August 1st (Monday)

Anyone read it?

I'm intrigued by the teasers I'm seeing for the movie. Being a southerner (born in Memphis), raised by a non-prejudiced southern bred mother and ultra-prejudiced Yankee father, I know my view of the Civil Rights movement was severely skewed compared to most people and I'm wondering if this will set thing a little straighter for me.

I'll probably watch the movie first when it comes out and then read the book since movies never measure up. I hate spending the money for a movie and being disappointed. That's probably why I haven't gone to a movie since the mid-80s.


"Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any of one of those is to lose all three." - Anon.

Posts: 4846 | Registered: Jun 2004 | From: Denver, CO
kdny
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Member # 760
Default  Posted: 9:26 PM, August 1st (Monday)

I just finished the book. I loved it. I wanted to read it before I see the movie.


Whether we remain ash or become phoenix is up to us.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sometimes the fine line between a nervous breakdown and knowing things will be okay is a pair of furry pants~unfound

Posts: 81335 | Registered: Dec 2002 | From: Slightly left of center, standing on my head
Red Sox Nation
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Member # 26358
Default  Posted: 9:35 PM, August 1st (Monday)

I read it as well. Seemed rather predictable, mass market and preachy. At least it moves quickly.


When someone tells you who she is, listen; when someone shows you who she is, listen carefully.

Posts: 1870 | Registered: Nov 2009 | From: Midwest
authenticnow
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Default  Posted: 10:17 PM, August 3rd (Wednesday)

I read it and loved it. I'll see the movie with the expectation that it won't be nearly as good as the book. But I usually enjoy watching books get translated to the big screen.


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 37591 | Registered: Sep 2007
Hope24
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Member # 9344
Default  Posted: 4:50 AM, August 4th (Thursday)

Read it. Wasn't a big fan.

It will translate well to the big screen, I suspect.


She packed up her potential and all she had learned and headed out to change a few things.

Posts: 7605 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Poolside
TheHardWay
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Member # 4342
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, August 4th (Thursday)

I read it also - I MADE myself finish it. Just was so-so - at best, IMO. It certainly wasnt worth the hype and the long wait on my book wish list.


F-BS 43
DS 24 DS 20
Seperated 2001; Divorced 2003
Remarried to a wonderful man 2008

Posts: 7912 | Registered: May 2004 | From: The Sunshine State
invictus
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Member # 21623
Default  Posted: 9:34 AM, August 4th (Thursday)

I read it -- I remember people like some of those housewives, although at the time I thought they were just rude. Now I think they were ignorant and rude.

I thought the book was an eye-opener for people who had no idea that sort of prejudice existed. I'm looking forward to the movie.


♥ One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though ... betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope. ~Steven Deitz

Posts: 1863 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: Texas
MissesJai
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Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 11:41 AM, August 4th (Thursday)

loved it! I'm going to see the movie with the full on expectation that it won't live up to the book...

[This message edited by MissesJai at 1:01 PM, August 4th (Thursday)]


FWW - 41
Fawk you.....pay me!

Posts: 5908 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
wannabenormal
Member
Member # 19772
Default  Posted: 12:39 PM, August 4th (Thursday)

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I finished within a week, which is FAST for me! (I work, have kids...tend to spend my free time watching trash TV).

ETA: I don't think the movie will be near as good - but I'd like to go see it anyway.

[This message edited by wannabenormal at 12:39 PM, August 4th (Thursday)]



Posts: 14350 | Registered: Jun 2008
click4it
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Member # 209
Default  Posted: 12:42 PM, August 4th (Thursday)

ooo there is a book? I definitely want to read it, because I really want to see the movie. Thanks for the heads up.


Me: 42
Two boys: 17 and 14
Divorced 12-13-05
d-day 10-02-01

Laughter will cure life's ills. Have you had your laugh today?


Posts: 25548 | Registered: Jun 2002 | From: California
formerlyteflon
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Member # 16725
Default  Posted: 1:37 PM, August 9th (Tuesday)

I read this for my book club. I read it in one sitting and still think it's one of the best novels I've read in the last few years.

However. In the 5 years and 40-odd books we read in our book club, this was the most controversial. The gender and race divide was clear, as all the non-black women loved it and the men of all races and black women thought it was "depressing as hell", "borderline racist" and "contrived". We basically disbanded after discussing this book!


“There is a limit to the amount of misery and disarray you will put up with, for love, just as there is a limit to the amount of mess you can stand around a house. You can’t know the limit beforehand, but you will know when you’ve reached it."

Posts: 930 | Registered: Oct 2007
persevere
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Member # 31468
Default  Posted: 3:16 PM, August 9th (Tuesday)

I'm reading this right now! So far I'm really enjoying it.


Me: BW-44
Him: XWH-44
Together 9 yrs
DDays: 1/10/2011
Status: Divorced 4/27/11

Above all, be the heroine, not the victim. - Nora Ephron

It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
- J. K. Rowling


Posts: 4516 | Registered: Mar 2011 | From: Texas
steph
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Member # 11564
Default  Posted: 2:25 PM, August 12th (Friday)

I just started the book last night and I like it so far.
I want to see it before I see the movie.


Me BS
Him WS
Married 27 yrs at first affair, now married over 30
Dday July 3, 06 False R for over 2.5 years, Discovery again 2/17/09 and again Dec 2011, same pathetic OW.

It's what you do when someone is not looking that reveals the most a


Posts: 2299 | Registered: Aug 2006
MissesJai
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Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 4:18 PM, August 12th (Friday)

going to see the movie after work. super excited.
as all the non-black women loved it and the men of all races and black women thought it was "depressing as hell", "borderline racist" and "contrived".
People are going to have their opinions but the truth of the matter is the book is a pretty accurate depiction of southern culture at that time. I find it unfortunate that anybody, especially black readers, would consider it contrived. It's reality. Yes, it's depressing but it's our history as a country. It's embarrassing as hell, but it's the truth. You can't run from the truth. Racism was and still is very prevelant in the South. In fact, there's a small town in Mississippi where slavery still exists. Yes, you read that right.


FWW - 41
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Posts: 5908 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
InnerLight
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Default  Posted: 11:17 PM, August 12th (Friday)

I really enjoyed this book. I don't take it as the end all be all depiction of how black women in the south at that time felt at all. It's just one author and a white one. But I really loved this book a lot. Lots of black women writers to enjoy for a broader perspective.


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5815 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
MissesJai
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Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 9:47 AM, August 15th (Monday)

Saw the movie. EXCELLENT! Writers stayed true to the book, which was very pleasing. I'd definitely see it again.


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Posts: 5908 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
Cabrona
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Default  Posted: 11:57 AM, August 15th (Monday)

I read it, and was not unduly impressed. I agree that the black female characters were contrived and that annoyed me.


"The truth is, everybody is going to hurt you... you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." —Bob Marley

Posts: 560 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Caribbean
Thriving
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Member # 4770
Default  Posted: 6:24 PM, August 15th (Monday)

Thanks everyone! Such a varied set of opinions. I'll probably wait until the movie is on "on demand" before I watch it but I may go ahead and read the book.


"Trust is earned, respect is given, and loyalty is demonstrated. Betrayal of any of one of those is to lose all three." - Anon.

Posts: 4846 | Registered: Jun 2004 | From: Denver, CO
cmego
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Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 9:04 PM, August 15th (Monday)

I thought both were very good. The book is better than the movie.

I am very Southern, born and raised in the South, by very Southern parents. I remember my grandmother having "Help". My Mom said she always had a African American maid. It's just what southern women had at that time.

So, for me, I found it wonderful. I loved hearing about how the "Help" viewed the family...certainly not something my grandmother ever considered!

I'm amazed at how much has changed in 2 generations. My grandmother could have been one of those women in the book...and here we are, 2 generations later, where I grew up knowing nothing about segregation until it was taught in school.


me...BS, 43 years old, 2 small kids
WS, 41, multiple gay affairs
M 15 years, together 17
Divorced

"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it's always ourselves we find in the sea" ee cummings


Posts: 4142 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: South
veritas
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Default  Posted: 10:24 AM, August 16th (Tuesday)

Racism was and still is very prevelant in the South. In fact, there's a small town in Mississippi where slavery still exists. Yes, you read that right.

That's exactly why many black women don't like it and many black women like myself might read it, but the annoyance factor is already high. It might be an accurate depiction of Southern culture, but it's not a particularly accurate depiction of The Help, the real women. I read somewhere that it was more like Mean Girls or Desperate Housewives for Jim Crow, and looking at the trailers, um, yeah.


Actions unmask what words disguise.
Love many; trust few; and always paddle your own canoe.
When you win, you teach; when you lose, you learn.

Posts: 10168 | Registered: Feb 2004
cmego
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Member # 30346
Default  Posted: 10:46 AM, August 16th (Tuesday)

I do think that the main "mean" character was a bit over the top (BTW, she is mean to everyone, not just the black characters), and she got her "just desserts" so to say, but there is also a lot of the prejudice against *women* during that time too...that we were expected to get married, and have babies. The story is also about the main character going against everything that the culture was about at that time. She was white, going against what the other white characters believed, and going against what society "thought" she should do.

This is a story about going against what everyone else is doing...for both the white and black characters.

I would suggest the book over the movie...the book had much more depth to the story lines.


me...BS, 43 years old, 2 small kids
WS, 41, multiple gay affairs
M 15 years, together 17
Divorced

"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it's always ourselves we find in the sea" ee cummings


Posts: 4142 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: South
veritas
Member
Member # 3525
Default  Posted: 11:09 AM, August 16th (Tuesday)

That's exactly my point. White women and black women might be more equal now, but back then, there was absolutely no question as to their equality on any front. To use that as a backdrop to compare their struggles is totally asinine. It's like "Springtime for Hitler."


Actions unmask what words disguise.
Love many; trust few; and always paddle your own canoe.
When you win, you teach; when you lose, you learn.

Posts: 10168 | Registered: Feb 2004
asurvivor
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Member # 32368
Default  Posted: 1:18 PM, August 16th (Tuesday)

I'm in the middle of this book and I must say that Veritas your "Springtime for Hitler" comment was brilliant. I really have found the different perspectives expressed here very interesting.


I've wiped the shit off. It can be wiped off you know.



Posts: 565 | Registered: Jun 2011
veritas
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Member # 3525
Default  Posted: 2:03 PM, August 16th (Tuesday)

One more post, and I'll shut up (maybe). It can't be that bad of a book or movie, as it seems to be very popular, and I'm sure it resonates with some people. I just can't relate because my grandmothers were The Help. If I want to know what it was like, I can ask them, and I'm pretty sure that from their discussion of other things that it's a different story. It would be like me reading "Leeann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian: A Love Story."


Actions unmask what words disguise.
Love many; trust few; and always paddle your own canoe.
When you win, you teach; when you lose, you learn.

Posts: 10168 | Registered: Feb 2004
Red Sox Nation
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Member # 26358
Default  Posted: 11:40 PM, August 18th (Thursday)

I wouldn't call it bad. Just mass-market. It's accessible. It's politically pitch-correct. She made a good choice with her narrator - someone we all can identify with. Very Hollywood, though they would never dare to cast someone truly plain or awkward as Skeeter.


When someone tells you who she is, listen; when someone shows you who she is, listen carefully.

Posts: 1870 | Registered: Nov 2009 | From: Midwest
Hope24
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Member # 9344
Default  Posted: 6:44 AM, August 19th (Friday)

I saw the movie with my book club last night.

It translated well to film.

I wasn't a huge fan of the book, but the movie was okay.A little over-the-top with the characters, just like the book.

Definitely mass market.


She packed up her potential and all she had learned and headed out to change a few things.

Posts: 7605 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: Poolside
soverybetrayed
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Member # 32948
Default  Posted: 8:56 PM, August 24th (Wednesday)

I haven't read the book or seen the movie so I am confused. I thought that the books was written from the prespective of the help. I thought that the author actually talked to women who were the help? How can you write a book like that if you do not do the real research and speak to the real women who were the help during that time?

I guess from all the Hollywood hype I just thought that that was what the book was really about. Thought is was an honest book about how the help felt during those times.

Hope I am not offending anyone with my questions.


Me-53
DDay 10/16/2010 DDay2 5/22/2011
Divorced 8/23/2012
I will get stronger and better but no matter where he goes, there he is....

Posts: 1207 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: Texas
click4it
Member
Member # 209
Default  Posted: 12:33 AM, August 25th (Thursday)

Loved the movie and now want to read the book.


Me: 42
Two boys: 17 and 14
Divorced 12-13-05
d-day 10-02-01

Laughter will cure life's ills. Have you had your laugh today?


Posts: 25548 | Registered: Jun 2002 | From: California
circe
Member
Member # 6687
Default  Posted: 10:39 AM, September 8th (Thursday)

I feel so out of sync sometimes and it really bothers me. I found this book dull and after several tries, gave up. I'm a really fast reader and usually read at least one and often two fiction books a weekend, with a nonfiction or biography or two going at all times through the work week. If a book isn't the right speed or tone for my mood, I put it down, read something else and come back to it. After a few tries I usually pass it along to one of my friends or family.

So many people loved and recommended this book and I really wanted to love it - I just couldn't get into it, couldn't really get to know or care about any of the characters or care what happened next. I don't mind slow moving books in the least, but this one seemed stultifying. I hate when that happens.


Posts: 3192 | Registered: Mar 2005
JanaGreen
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Default  Posted: 10:45 AM, September 8th (Thursday)

Wait, what small town in Mississippi still practices slavery? What was that comment about?


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Posts: 6735 | Registered: Aug 2010 | From: Somewhere in the South
Skye
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Default  Posted: 11:04 AM, September 8th (Thursday)

Haven't read it and haven't seen the movie, and don't plan on either.

But I do have to say some very, very popular books and movies aren't very good. I have learned that just because a movie/book are best sellers or big money makers mean they appeal to the masses, not that they are good.

slight t/j Veritas, I've read reviews from black women who felt the story was done extremely unwell and ignored so much of the reality of the times. end of t/j


Posts: 5621 | Registered: Jul 2002
veritas
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Member # 3525
Default  Posted: 11:27 AM, September 8th (Thursday)

And I think that's exactly my issue, Skye. Can you imagine if a white woman in the 1960's actually had interviewed her maid, written a book about it, and gone up against the Junior League??? In Jackson, Mississippi????? That book wouldn't have a Disney ending with feel good overtones. It's 2011, and Kathryn Stockett's own parents are not even speaking to her.


Actions unmask what words disguise.
Love many; trust few; and always paddle your own canoe.
When you win, you teach; when you lose, you learn.

Posts: 10168 | Registered: Feb 2004
wannabenormal
Member
Member # 19772
Default  Posted: 12:27 PM, September 8th (Thursday)

I don't know, maybe I'm missing some points her, but it's not like this book has been touted as non-fiction.

To me I enjoyed it - it was like the movie Titanic; not a true account or even completely historically accurate, but both were good for entertainment value.

Why aren't Stockett's parents talking to her?



Posts: 14350 | Registered: Jun 2008
MissesJai
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Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 12:36 PM, September 8th (Thursday)

Wait, what small town in Mississippi still practices slavery? What was that comment about?
http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_7125.shtml


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Posts: 5908 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
veritas
Member
Member # 3525
Default  Posted: 3:53 PM, September 8th (Thursday)

I don't know, maybe I'm missing some points her, but it's not like this book has been touted as non-fiction.

That's one of my quirks as a reader: I can't read bad writing. I'll read any genre so long as I don't have to facepalm myself after every page. I find sloppy plots and lack of research annoying in the extreme, whether it's a thriller, mystery, romance novel -- whatever.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/lawsuit-black-maid-ablene-cooper-sues-author-kathryn/story?id=12968562&page=2

Nobody's talking...


Actions unmask what words disguise.
Love many; trust few; and always paddle your own canoe.
When you win, you teach; when you lose, you learn.

Posts: 10168 | Registered: Feb 2004
Topic Posts: 35