I first heard of The Help via the 2012 Academy Awards, and as a result, saw the movie prior to reading the book.
In all honesty, if it had not been for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, I’m not sure I’d have made it through to the end. It wasn’t that the theme was bad, or that I have an aversion to watching pre-segregation films, I just think that trying to tell that kind of story with a PG rating, doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the inhuman treatment of blacks in America.
Not until I decided to give the story a second chance by reading Stockett’s novel, did I realize this wasn’t a story about blacks; it was a story about a young, southern white woman, trying to come to grips with the turmoil of growing up in a culture where slavery and segregation were a way of life; only to come of age and realize that everything she believed about white vs. blacks is a lie.
If I were to view the movie and book as a social statement on behalf of black equality, I’d have to say it didn’t even make it out of the gate. But if on the other hand, I were to judge it on the merit of someone trying to be transparent in her evolution from slave owner to moral consciousness, then I’d be inclined to give the author two and half stars.
As painful as it is to admit, human nature must be shocked before it allows anything to provoke it to outrage, and stories like “The Help” need outrage to truly be heard. In Kathryn’s next novel, I hope she has the courage to speak louder, writer bolder and not be afraid to use graphics when needed.
From the laptop of an uncensored writer,