Some rare times movies are actually better than the books from which they were adapted. That was not the case, in my view, as far as The Help is concerned. Not that the movie wasn’t good. To me, it was very well done. I never expect a movie to be exactly like the book. Each has its own appeal in its own way.
The biggest difference to me was that the book, brilliantly written by Kathryn Stockett, was more subtle. The movie was anything but subtle. Another big difference was the way the story was told. Sections of the book are narrated by the main characters. In a way, Stockett’s technique reminds me of Mark Twain’s telling of Huckleberry Finn, arguably the Great American Novel, through the words of Huck. I thought she did an excellent job with the dialects.
When I heard the movie was coming out, I rushed to Barnes and Noble and got my copy because I always prefer reading the book before I see the movie. To me, books usually offer so much more detail and, quite often, insight than movies, but movies, when done well, bring books to life.
Quite often when I see the movie first, I don’t read the book. But, sometimes I do. In this case, I would recommend that you do. As I said, it is brilliantly written. I think you’ll be glad. I’ll even make it easy for you. I’ll bring my copy with me Thursday when I start my Friends of Libraries Bookstore shift at 2 p.m. the Columbus Public Library. The cover price is $16. You can buy my copy for $4. First come, first serve
Fortunately, there is a little controversy about the book. It’s hard to get around that when you write about the Jim Crow South. I say fortunately, because controversy sells, and this book is a runaway best seller. That’s as it should be.