This past weekend I went out to lunch with two girlfriends and afterwards, saw the new movie The Help. What an excellent movie. I highly recommend it to you. It is currently in its third week of being #1 at the box office.
I grew up in segregated Augusta, Georgia, during the 1960s and was in the third grade when the storyline ends. Many of the sights and sounds as shown in the movie of that era were familiar to me. Our family employed two different maids over a period of six years when I was young and I do not ever recall either of them ever being treated disrespectfully. They did not "raise" my brother and me but mainly did the housework and cooked dinner 2x a week for us. Many families we knew employed "help". This movie has made me wonder what their lives at home were really like and makes me a bit sad. I did not know any different being so young, and the idea that they might not have been happy working as maids never occurred to me. My mother grew up in Augusta in the 1930s and was raised by a "black mammy" as they called her, who lived with the family. She and her five siblings truly did love her as much or more than their own mother. I'm sure that the thought that she might not be happy in her work never occurred to her either.
We moved from Augusta to Orlando (my dad was hired for the Disney project) in the summer of 1970, the summer after a news-making racial riot occurred in Augusta. I remember that night well since by then I was in the 9th grade. I honestly never knew why the riot occurred until today when I searched on Google to see what caused it. It was a shameful time in our nation's history.
I have not read this novel but many of my friends have and say that it is well written. I hope to read it later this year. I see from the author's website that she was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, where the story takes place and wondered if the book was autobiographical in nature. HERE are some of her comments on growing up in Jackson in the 1960s.
Regardless of the setting [Jackson, Mississippi, during the civil rights movement], the movie is a story about women's friendships--good and bad--about perseverance in the midst of struggles and even danger, and about taking a stand and doing the right thing.
There are some hilarious moments, some thought-provoking scenes, and definitely a few tear-jerker scenes, so be sure to take your tissues...and go with someone with whom you can discuss the movie with over coffee afterwards. :)