The Help – surprisingly helpful
I never really paid much attention to the yellow posters that started appearing all over town when “The Help”, the film based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same title, reached German cinemas.
It was not until recently that my attention was drawn to the bestseller when I received a package from my Canadian friends. Its content: The novel. Since I had some free time to spend before leaving for Turkey, I figured I might as well start reading it. And I am glad I did. After the first page I was hooked.
Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. Black and white are still segregated. Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter, two black maids and a young white college graduate, start on a secret mission: Writing a book about what it is like to work as a black maid in the white households of the South. The risks they are undertaking are huge. Yet, they are determined to pull their project through.
The author, who grew up in Jackson herself and was very close to her own maid, managed to bring across a crucial message: We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Facts and fiction intertwine into an authentic, touching and funny story in which a cake does not play a minor role. It kept me thrilled until the last page.
Even though I read quite continuously, I did not finish the novel before starting my one and a half year Turkey adventure. I took it on the plane and read throughout the flight, ignoring turbulences, and finally finished it at 2 am in the morning. Reading what was left of this novel made me feel the comfort of home. I found this quite helpful on my first night in an unknown city.