Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Reading - The Help

I just finished reading The Help (by Kathryn Stockett).  I know, I know, I'm pretty much the last person to read the book, but better late than never.  I really enjoyed it and kept drifting over to read parts of it during the day.  I kept wondering what was going to happen next and found myself thinking about it as I went about my day. I haven't been hooked by a book, like I was with this one, in a long time.  

I love a story that attempts to accurately portray a specific time period like The Help did. I like to learn something about another time and place and what life was like for people living then. I especially liked that even though this was a difficult time for the black maids, they were not left without hope that things would improve for them at the end of the story. I'm sentimental enough to need to have some positive outcomes at the end of a story or I'm left feeling upset and sad.

One of the things I liked about The Help was that it was set in Mississippi. I have always been intrigued by life in the Southern US - it seems so different to life here in Canada. We aren't raised to say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" and have impeccable manners and we don't cook black-eyed peas on New Year's Day and have magnolia trees and cotton farms and ... I could go on and on.  Not only was the location intriguing, but I have always loved the fashion from the early 1960s so I spent the book imagining what they were wearing and how the cars and houses looked. It will be interesting to see how someone else portrays it in the movie.  

I've actually finished three books so far this summer and they couldn't be more different from each other. I thought it would be fun to find some photos to capture what I was imagining for each of the books. Although two of the three books have recently been made into movies, I haven't seen the movies yet so these are just the inner workings of my mind (scary, I know).  

So here are some of the images that struck me as I read The Help:

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10    

I'd give The Help a 9/10 and a must-read recommendation.  My only complaint was not finding out about Cecilia Foote's back story - I kept thinking it was going to be significant and maybe even had to do with Constantine's departure (if you get my meaning without revealing anything in case you haven't read the book).

Now I need to get my hands on the movie so I can see how the book has been interpreted. Have you read the book or seen the movie? What did you think? 

P.S.  For an interesting article about filming the movie and the set designs read here.

Linked to Literary Friday at Art @ Home


  1. I loved the book and the movie.


  2. I still haven't got around to reading this one. I should get to it, then come back and look at this post again.

  3. I loved the book and the movie. I live in the South and my mom grew up in the 1960's, but in a much more middle-class family than Skeeter's, so I was constantly asking her questions about how much of the book was like her life.

  4. I would love to visit the South. It seems as though it might be a beautiful place for the fortunate ones. Did you read The Ya-Ya Sisters books?

  5. I love the book and the movie. The ceiling on the front porch you have shown is painted haint blue. Porch ceilings in the South are painted that color because it keeps the haints (evil spirits) out of your home. It confuses them into thinking that it's a body of water, and everyone knows that haints can't cross bodies of water!

    I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1965, so I do remember the beginnings of desegregation. I remember separate restrooms and water fountains. I always used the colored fountains because they were smaller and at the right height for me.

    When we lived in Mountain Brook (older Birmingham suburb) in the nineties, we had one of those maid bathrooms in the laundry room. There was also a door from the outside of the house so the yardman could use it, too, without coming into the house (obviously we didn't build it, we just bought it years later). It's great for when the kids are playing outside with their friends.

    Birmingham has an amazing Civil Rights museum you should visit, by the way....

    Great review!
    Ricki Jill