Unless you are reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Having heard some good things and read a couple of glowing reviews I knew I wanted to read The Help. Now I'm not a super fast reader by any means (my closest friend from Uni reads like a scanner, no joke!) but I absolutely devoured The Help.
I'm really fascinated with social history, particularly of other countries and the semi-autobiographical nature of The Help is evident in the detail, the cultural referencing and the complex and convincing characters.
Set primarily in the 1960's (though it flits to other decades for context) The Help focuses on a young woman called Skeeter Phelan who lives on a cotton plantation in the Deep South, A middle aged woman called Aibileen Clark who's heart is breaking due to the passing of her son and Minny Jackson, a fiesty older woman with a reputation for brilliant cooking. Skeeter is a white amateur writer and Minny and Aibileen are two black maids which Americans call, 'The Help.'
An unlikely (and forbidden) friendship unfolds between the three and Skeeter is offered a once-only opportunity from a ballsy New York based Editor on the condition that she produces an outstanding article. Skeeter decides that the Civil Rights movement is the obvious choice for a topic as it is all anyone is talking about in New York and is being wholly supported by black and white people, whereas in Jackson, Mississippi, black men who are campaigning for equal rights are being maimed and murdered.
I won't say too much more about the plot as you really do need to discover it for yourself. It is totally engrossing and absolutely fascinating.
So having read the book with record timing, I was curious to see the film when it was released. As I really loved the book I held out for ages (in fact until it came out on DVD) to watch it as I didn't want it to do the book an injustice- I needn't have waited at all.
Apart from the fact they cast Emma Stone as Skeeter, who acted the role brilliantly but was far too pretty in my opinion, the film sticks to the book with real integrity and in some parts it even quotes it directly.
If you haven't seen or read The Help yet, make it your next film or book- you won't regret it!