The Help book review–Archives

Aside from the Harry Potter series that I started reading because my sister gave me the first book that she won in her first or second grade class, I usually just read books that people suggest to me. So far, I haven’t been disappointed!
After hearing so many good things, I picked up The Help. The book started out painful to read, like the author tried very hard to make sure you understood that you were reading from the perspective of a southern African American woman in the 60s. She tried too hard sometimes, in my opinion, neglecting simple verbs and articles but then including what I consider decent vocabulary words. Some of my friends couldn’t get past the poor grammar but others warned that once you get used to the character, it feels natural because you hear her voice in your head. It definitely got easier for me and I absolutely loved it. I’m not really sure what drew me in but I couldn’t put it down. It brought so many emotions out, it really is frustrating to hear the kinds of racist thinngs that people did without even blinking.
As usual, I didn’t like the movie nearly as much as the book. If I hadn’t read the book, I’m sure that I could appreciate the movie but all I kept seeing were discrepancies. In no particular order, I want to discuss some of the things I noticed that didn’t feel like they correlated to the book.
Everything seemed a little off with Minny and the order of which things happened with her. She seemed a lot nicer and way more involved with the story than I thought in the book. The movie completely removed Minny’s suspicion of Celia drinking, Johnny finding out about her early, and Celia firing Minny for yelling at her (the day before the baby situation).
The entire situation about Constantine’s daughter Rachel was removed and I really preferred the original story. In the book, Constantine’s father was white and Rachel was born looking white. Constantine had a lot of difficulties being black and walking around with a “white child” and they established that she was ashamed of Rachel and that is why she put her up. When Rachel came to meet Constantine, she walked in and tried to apply for the group Skeeter’s mom was apart of. Skeeter’s mother was angry and embarrassed so she told Rachel the truth about why Constantine gave her up.
This brings me to Skeeter’s mother, who was much nicer in the movie than in the book. Her personality seemed different but I liked this better. She seemed to actually love Skeeter, (she even called her “Skeeter” the entire time when the book mentioned that she hated that nickname) and I love the way she told Hilly off. The actress who played her is always fun and had a nice sass to her, so I found the movie’s Mrs. Phelan much better than the book’s.
I like the actress who played Skeeter but she’s not even remotely what I pictured when I read it. I felt the shunning of Skeeter by the people in the town was important but that was almost completely removed, as well as her initial breakup with Stuart. She also goes to talk to Aibilieen in the daylight in the book, which makes the entire setting seem less dangerous than it is continuously referred to in the book.
While Hilly wasn’t anything I pictured, I thought the actress did a great job but Elizabeth Leefolt was far more nurturing to Mae Mobley and the actress in general seemed a bit bubbly and loving. In the movie, she spanks Mae Mobley once for peeing on the toilets on the front lawn but in the book, it’s for trying to use Aibileen’s bathroom and shouts about how diseased “coloreds” are which drives home the racism point so it seemed stupid to change that. Elizabeth was gentle with Baby Girl and mostly acknowledged her so a portrait of a woman who “should not be having children” was not painted, in my opinion.
The only things I have left to say are…way to steal Treelore’s idea and not mention it in the movie and…what is with the L-shaped crack? Did I miss the explanation there? Overall, the book was fantastic and the movie was decent but strayed in certain areas that I found important to the story. I recommend the book to all of my friends who enjoy reading!

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