The Jess Lomas Book Club: The Help

The Jess Lomas Book Club: The Help

*A weekly feature in which literary connoisseur Jess Lomas examines the upcoming book-to-film adaptations worth keeping an eye on!*

If you’re part of a book club there’s a chance you’ve been made to read the following book. If you’re a fan of Oprah you might have also picked up this title based on her recommendation. I once borrowed it from the library, was daunted by the 464 pages in front of me, let the return date come and go and ended up paying a hefty fine; all for a book I never read but now wish I had.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, was released in 2009 and this year hits the big screen in an adaptation directed by Tate Taylor and starring Emma Stone. It’s a story set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, and tells the plight of African American maids working in white households.

Stone plays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, who returns home after four years away at college with ambitions to become a writer. When she witnesses the treatment of maids in her hometown, despite the progressive movement occurring around the country, she sets out to chronicle their stories.

Director Tate Taylor is somewhat inexperienced behind the camera, previously having directed Pretty Ugly People back in 2008 (yeah we haven’t hear of it either) as well as a short called Chicken Party, which, quite frankly, sounds delicious. Taylor’s experience lies in front of the camera; having acted in small parts on both TV and film, most recently in last year’s sleeper hit Winter’s Bone.

The novel has gone on to become a bestseller and no doubt, with the upcoming film, many will be adding it to their reading piles. The trailer for the film has just been released and we have to say, that is one ugly wig on Emma Stone! (Ed: Isn’t she a natural blonde? Maybe she just had a bad perm…)

The potential for this film to be either feel good and funny but with heart – or on the flip side, dangerously close to a Lifetime made-for-TV movie – is evident in the trailer. Thankfully with Stone in the lead I’m hopeful this film will soar above clichéd. For 1960s period enthusiasts, the film looks stunning and is sure to have a cracking soundtrack.

With an August release date in the States, and no set Australian release at this time, there’s ample opportunity for you to make a start on the 464 pages of The Help.

Discuss: Anyone out there read The Help? What are your thoughts on the trailer?

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