The moment I watched the major motion picture, The Help, which starred Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer, Academy Award-nominee Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain and Emma Stone, I simply had to watch it again and again.
It is based on the New York Times’ Bestseller, The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett, which is her first novel. It is focused on the lives of colored maids, specifically Aibileen Clark (played by Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (played by Octavia Spencer), living in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960s. A white college graduate and aspiring writer, Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), starts to document their experiences into a book.
The 1960’s is known for the civil rights movement, segregation in the South, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Writing a book about whites and blacks was a risky chance that the protagonist of the story took. The chapters are separated according to who is telling the story. It’s either Aibileen, Minny or Miss Skeeter.
After mentioning my adoration for the film, a colleague mentioned that she had a copy of the book. I borrowed it and as is expected, loved it so much.
There are differences in the plot of the movie and book. The book has chapters that give the reader a better point of view of the character’s lives. Other than the social issues in Jackson, the personal adversities of each character not related to race (such as a mother dying, heartbreak, domestic violence, longing for a child, etc) are intertwined. The movie on the other hand gives more depth in the emotions of each scene. Karma is much more depicted in the film, where the good people finally speak their minds to those who oppressed them.
I didn’t regret watching the movie first before reading the book. To be honest, both of them are wonderful creations. It is as if either one of them could stand alone without the other. The movie in its own right was wonderfully produced that the script could have passed as an original, not based on a book. The book also contains the very essence of a bestseller even if wasn’t turned into a movie which starred a handful of great actors and actresses.
I absolutely love these lines from Chapter 33:
There is so much you don’t know about a person.
We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.
It’s a wonderful read and if you get to grab a copy, please, do read it.
La vie est belle,