The author's statement at the end of the book explains the origins of the book; the author was raised with a black maid. Jennifer, who presented the book to us, told us that because there was only one bath tub in the Stockett house, the maid shared the tub...but had to bathe in her clothes. That disturbs me! Stockett encountered some anger about the book, including some from her own relatives and some from readers who objected to her writing from a black point of view. One black maid who worked for Stockett's family at some time saw herself in the book and is currently suing the author. If anyone sees any follow-up on this case, please let our book group know!
The discussion started with the question of what motivated Hilly. Candy suggested she was scared, and Sandy thought she was just mean and manipulative. There was some agreement that she was intimidated by Skeeter's college degree.
We thought about whether these maids in the real world would love the children they cared for, as in the book. We questioned whether "the pie" was a realistic form of revenge. Not sure why, but we didn't dwell on "the pie."
We only briefly touched on the literary quality of The Help. Consensus was that this was an excellent book, especially for a first-time author!
The Help has been on the NY Times Best Seller list for close to 100 weeks! A movie is planned for release this summer.