Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten: My Thoughts on The Help

***Spoiler Alert! I am going to talk about The Help.  So, if you have plans to read it, watch it, or do not care at all about either, this post may not be for you. But I am still REALLY glad you stopped by! I really, really like you.***

Okay, peeps. Let's chat.

Last week, amidst the fog that was jet lag, I managed to read The Help. I knew I was going to see it on Saturday and I really wanted to read it before the movie clouded my first perception of the story. And let me tell you, it sucked me right in. RIGHT. IN. And in my Ambien-fueled stupor, I managed to laugh, cry and get angry all at the same time. I love when books do that.

And then I went to see the movie. It is always so tricky to see the movie version of a book, especially if you finished the book a mere 20 hours before. And while I really enjoyed the movie, I loved the book more.

But I would still recommend the movie.

And the book.

 Recommendations, all around.

The only thing I don't recommend is finishing the book and IMMEDIATELY seeing the movie. Your brain just can't shut off. It just can't.

Now, you should know up front that I have never been in a book club nor do I know how to properly digest and pontificate on the power, importance, analogy or symbolism of a book. I just know whether I liked it or not. So with that being said, here are a few of my thoughts. And I do have some thoughts.

1. As a history major in college, post-World War II American history was my focus, so I loved how this book followed historical events in this country. Truly, I cannot get enough American history. (Nerd. Alert.)

2. Aibileen is magnificent. In both the book and the movie, her vulnerability, courage and integrity drive the entire story. Such a strong, lovely character.

3. I now want to make fried chicken.

4. The movie version of Celia Foote was awesome. She was so honest and innocent (well, socially anyway). She loved like a child and there is something very refreshing about that! Plus, that girl had some killer heels.

5. Sissy Spacek as Missus Walters was the best casting choice of the year. Her character in the movie is much stronger than in the book and I think it only enhanced Hilly's evilness.

6. Hilly is such a sad, ignorant, fearful character. But you can't blame her entirely because she was not (and is not) alone in her pursuits. There is so much to say on hatred and racism and segregation and ignorance that it makes my head spin. Bottom line: it is wrong. Dead wrong. It makes me sad and long for a day when these words will never be uttered again. That will be a glorious day.

7. Minny could be one of my favorite characters of all-time. Her gumption (that's right, gumption), combined with her sassy attitude make her the perfect compliment to Aibileen's self-control and strength. I loved their friendship. And is it wrong that I want her to make me a pie?

8. What was the deal with the naked man in the book? Anyone?

9. Stuart is a pansy. His only redeeming quality is...wait, no. He is still a pansy.

10. I love that Skeeter is awkward. I relate to awkward.

11. Aibileen and Mae Mobley's relationship just about killed me. Seriously. So sad and powerful. I bawled. Like a baby. I am not kidding.

Yes, I know there were 11 but consider it a bonus.

So there are just a few thoughts. What are yours? They can be on the movie or the book or on something totally different and random. I would love to hear them!


  1. I loved the movie ALMOST as much as the book. That doesn't happen very often. I read the book last summer so I can't really say that the movie remained true to every detail -- but the thoughts and feelings that both the book and the movie evoked are the same.

    To your points (Oh I love this, thanks for asking!)

    1) That era of American history is haunting. I still recall "white" and "colored" bathrooms and water fountains in the south. Sigh...

    2) Aibilene rocks! Such courage.

    3) Both Vern and I wanted fried chicken after the movie! So when you make it, give us a call ;)

    4) Poor, dear, sweet, fragile Celia! But don't ya just also love her husband? Happy ending!

    5) Sissy Spacek took that character to a higher level of feisty!

    6) Hilly was so lost! All that Southern charm could not mask the evil that was within. Indeed, a victim, as well.

    7) I think we all have an inner-Minnie! The pie scenes were hysterical!

    8)I hardly remember the naked man -- but results from Googling it indicate that it makes no real sense to anyone, except that it offered an opportunity for Celia and Minnie to bond. And it's another example of racism and sexism.

    9) Stuart - UGH! She's better off without him. A fab career and future awaits in NYC.

    10) Skeeter is just adorable, smart and funny.

    11) Ah Mae Mobley! You is smart, you is kind, and you is important.

    This was fun!

  2. I just read the part with the naked man today (while at the DMV) and was hoping it would get explained at some point, but I guess not.

    Anyway, I am loving the book, it really does have some great characters. My book club will in September if you would like to come along (and I can't do symbolism either so no need to worry there).

  3. I know we've already talked about this but thank you so much for doing this post.

    1. I think having read this book a over year ago made me think that the movie was just as good as the book. Not sure what my opinion would have been if I'd just finished the book. I do know that I cried a little at the book but bawled at the movie. I loved seeing the characters come to life and you could feel the emotion more in the film.

    2. I want to be a better mom. Having a baby girl myself, not sure how anyone could ever make their child not feel wanted. I want to tell my baby every day how amazing she is.

    3. I am so inspired by Skeeter's fearlessness and ability to see through society and take a stand for what was right. I hope to be that bold.

    4. I loooooove Celia! More in the movie even then the book. Great casting for her. You just loved her so much, cleavage and all.

    5. I totally forgot that Stuart just left her at the end! What a jerk face loser.

    6. The actresses who played Abeliene and Minny were exactly what I pictured them in the book. They were so amazing.

    7. Has Claire read the book yet?

    8. Minny might have been my favorite character too. She was so funny and so brave and I love when she dropped the groceries and started swinging the stick at Celia's husband. And I love their friendship too. It reminds me of you.

    9. Gotta love Celia's husband.

    10. I want to be friends with Emma Stone

    11. I wish that we could still wear dresses like they did in the 50's and that women still dressed more modestly.

    12. I want your fried chicken.


  4. Haven't read/seen it yet . . . guess I'm gonna have to. Maybe you should bring me fried chicken when you make it . . . you know it might help my leg heal. :)

  5. Oh my gosh, I am loving your responses!! You all make me smile.

  6. I cried reading the book, I cried watching the movie. They did an awesome job with the movie. Oh my goodness, I am SO SO SO SO still thinking about how much I loved that movie!! Makes me want to read the book again. I LOVED all the acting. What amazing women they all were (Hilly being amazingly EVIL!!!)

    I get teary eyed every time I think about the "You is smart, you is kind, you is important" LOVE IT!!!!!!

  7. We just watched it last night (in a theater full of middle-aged women and one man other than Mike).

    I bought the book with plans to read it but will likely send it to my mother-in-law who actually has time to read. Between chasing a toddler and growing baby organs, this lady has not a second for reading : (

    Anyway, Mike and I both LOVED the movie. It made me mad, laugh out loud and cry. I came home and gave Sarah an extra long hug. Why anyone would leave their sweet baby in the hands of someone else is beyond me!

    Things that struck me:

    1. These ladies were not allowed to use their bathrooms or touch them, but they could clean, make food, and care for the kids...hmm?

    2. Celia's story was my favorite. I love how she learned, grew and had an amazing husband!

    3. I totally related to Skeeter...even today in some Christian circles you are looked down on for wanting a career over family. I didn't date until well after college and had my share of jerks when I did. And the heart of a writer is special. Something that years, and marriage and babies can't take away. She made me want to go write something amazing. Her hair reminds me of mine on a good day, and I loved her clothes. I pretend like I was that stylish in my working days : )

    4. I want those develed eggs and my grandma's fried chicken : )

    5. I love that the author wrote this from her life experience being raised by a maid. I love historical fiction and this did not dissapoint.

    And I love you, friend! Thanks for the forum!