Tag Archives: Octavia Spencer

Get The Help (Movie Tie-In) for Half Off

If you haven’t read The Help yet, you’re missing out. The bestselling novel is one of the most successful books of the past two years, made more popular by the movie.

I highly recommended it a few months back, and I still do. Get a copy for cheap while you can! The Help with a movie tie-in is now available for $8.80 — a savings of 45%.

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Movie vs. Book: The Help

On the surface, it’s a story about civil rights. But really, it’s one of friendship. The Help follows the story of two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, Miss Skeeter, an aspiring writer, and their friends and families down South in the 1960’s. The book is a bestseller, and rightfully so. And the movie, a hit.

Normally, when a phenomenal book is turned into a movie, it’s terrible. The director doesn’t do the characters justice. But here, director Tate Taylor gets it just right. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the deep love between Minny and Aibileen. Not to mention, Minny’s attitude. But Taylor even managed to make Emma Stone (as Skeeter) ugly, which is a key point in the story. In the book, it’s sometimes hard to recognize the appreciation the maids and their employers have for each other. But when we see it onscreen — facial expressions and all — we realize there’s something there. Though they’re unwilling to admit it, these white women couldn’t live without their maids.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few changes in the movie. For instance, some of the plot points are a little out of order. Others are just a tad off from what actually happens in the book. But I recognize that when you’re making a complicated story a movie, there are things that need to be altered. For instance, the woman Minny works for — Celia Foote — miscarries her 4th child. In the novel, Minny doesn’t know Celia was ever pregnant, so the miscarriage is a complete shock. It remains shocking onscreen too, but in the movie, Celia tells Minny she’s pregnant when she hires her, undeniably stealing away from that surprise at the end.

Then again, some of the changes made in the movie version of The Help work. Like Sissy Spacek, who plays Hilly Holbrook’s mother. As readers/viewers, we all know Hilly (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) is the least likeable, most devilish character. But her mother knows it too. In the novel, her mother plays a minor role — one that shows how cruel Hilly can be. But in the movie, there’s more focus on her. She’s funny and aware of her daughter’s cruelty. By showing disdain for her own daughter, we’re left feeling even more hateful of Hilly.

Overall, the changes the movie makes are minor. Like the book, I still cried at the end. I still finished it feeling like I needed to hang out with my girlfriends. And I still left understanding more about the life of the help than I ever had. And after all, isn’t that the point?

Click here to buy The Help in paperback for just $8.80 — a total savings of 45%.


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Review: The Help

Recap: If you’ve ever wondered what it was like down South in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights movement, you’re in luck. If you haven’t ever wondered that, you need to read this book anyway. Kathryn Stockett’s The Help tells the story of a white woman and two black maids in Jackson, Mississippi, who surprise themselves when they decide to shake the town by writing a book about “the help.”

Skeeter, the white woman, is an aspiring writer and an outcast among her rich, white, well-educated friends. After graduating from college, she starts writing for a local paper, but can only get a job as the house-cleaning columnist, Miss Myrna. So she enlists one of her friend’s maids, Aibileen, for help. The two strike up a friendship, something that’s unheard of in those days.

Together they enlist a group of black women, including Aibileen’s best friend and outspoken maid, Minny, to write a book about the help’s experiences working for white women. But writing such a controversial book and keeping it a secret puts them in more danger than they ever could have imagined.

Analysis: I’m going to be honest. I don’t know much about the Civil Rights movement, nor do I know much about the South. I decided to read this book for the same reason everyone else did: it’s hugely popular and is about to become a movie. But I’m so glad I read it. It had me thinking about the differences between whites and blacks — or lack thereof —  like never before. And really, isn’t that the purpose? The fictional book that these women write gets the town talking about race. And now, 50 years later, Stockett strikes up the race chatter with her actual book.

I found myself asking my mother how she remembers life growing up. Did she have a maid? Was she black? How often was she at her house? What did my mother and her parents think of her? The book really made me think, and that’s something I haven’t had a book accomplish in quite some time.

Not only does Stockett get us talking, much like the people of Jackson in her novel, but she also writes in a style that feels real. Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny each tell parts of the story from their own perspectives. The book is a revolving door of personal reflections from the 3 major characters. Not to mention, Aibileen and Minny’s sections are written in their natural tongue, with phrases like “I done raised seventeen kids in my lifetime” and “circling around the little island a grass at the end with they windows down.”

MVP: Aibileen. The Help begins and ends with Aibileen sections. She’s the real focus of the story here. It’s Aibileen who first agrees to help Skeeter with her book. It’s Aibileen who gets Minny and the others to jump on the bandwagon. She takes charge, and risks everything for it. And despite what she loses, she recognizes what she’s gained, and that makes her all the more likeable.


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