The HelpPosted: July 20, 2011
I recently read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. I admit, I first heard about the book because of a preview for the movie coming out this summer (though I’m slightly ashamed to say so). I got my hands on a copy and it was much longer than I expected, based on the movie trailer. The book is also much darker than the trailer seems to be, getting into the nitty-gritty details – good and bad – of the complex relationships among the characters.
The book follows Skeeter, a young woman navigating 1962 Southern society as she returns from college determined to become a writer. The story of Skeeter’s unlikely friendships with the black maids of Jacksonville is a perfect way to examine the complexities of race relations in the south during the civil rights movement. But the book is more that an exploration of race relations: it contains a host of wonderfully vivid characters, both likable and distinctly unlikable. What is truly amazing is Stockett’s writing; it manages to feel like the truth, showing the good alongside the bad, the funny with the fear, the anger and the love.
So, will I see the movie? Um, yes. Duh. But I’ll keep the book separate from the movie in my head; they’ll be two very (very, very) different mediums for telling a beautiful, uplifting story. I hope to appreciate them both for what they are individually, rather than comparing them to one another.* How do you feel about books that become movies? Do you try to read the book before seeing the movie?
*Side note: I feel this way about Harry Potter, too. Love the books, love the movies…separately. I made a point of not reading the books in the two or so months leading up to a new movie release so I wouldn’t be stuck on the things that the movies changed. Instead, I could just enjoy the movies as movies and the books as (totally awesome) books.