Not-so-nice review of "The Help" by Leonard Pitts

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-95% of what Leonard Pitts writes. So I was saddened to read his column today about "The Help." He repeated (implying he agreed with) criticism he had heard from (elderly) blacks that this was simply a "feel good white movie." He said it was stereotyped but "a good attempt."
    One good point was, supposedly there are lots of blacks clamoring to have their own versions published. Where are those books and why haven't we seen them in the mainstream press? My only guess is that maybe the manuscripts are too bitter ... and maybe because the movie gave two of the characters happy endings it was more palatable?
    I'm going to see it again. I loved it.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Well, DUH, of course it was stereotyped! Isn't that what it was ABOUT?! Ugh.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm eager to see the movie or read the book. There is about a four week wait at the library.

    Having grown up with help I am hoping that the complexities of that era are represented. Vivian started working one day a week at our home in the 40's and was full time in the 50's and 60's. I think of her often and can't describe what a profound influence she had on my life. Because of my love for her I honed in on the segregation issues when I was a kid. She encouraged me to accept things as they were and lead my own life. She didn't want me in trouble.

    In our last telephone conversation before her passing we shared alot. Even though I never treated her with anything but great respect I told her that I was sorry that she and her family had struggled etc. She said to me "I've always loved you and want you to know that I was lucky to work for your family." Then she said that her oldest son was living an outstanding life in Atlanta with his family because my Dad located a college scholarship fund for him before he graduated from high school. He moved on to the American dream and never wanted to even visit Miami again. She received regular calls from him and had an open invitation to visit or live with him at his expense...anytime. on the other hand, she visited only once or twice a year because she didn't feel comfortable in his huge home and around his help.

    Boy, I'm hoping that the book/movie includes the caring bonds that existed in some families and not just the negative and selfish interactions that existed in others. Fingers crossed. DDD
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It's got all of the above, DDD. Lots of different characters.

    I'm glad that you had such a great experience.

    My grandmother hired a man who became part of the family, the operative phrase, as noted by Pitts, being "almost." He had to come in the back door. It irritates me to this day.
    He got pretty nice bonuses, though. I saw a bonus check go out one Christmas for $1,000. :) To a kid, that's a lot of money.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, Terry. The backdoor usage was like sitting in the back of the bus. Geez! I protested at home by saying "I'll use the backdoor too." My Mother wasn't impressed, lol. Then (mind you I was a "well behaved, mannerly child) one day I decided I would ride in the back of the bus. Vivian wasn't on the bus and I'm sure she would have croaked if she knew what I question in my mind that she heard about it from the help who were on board. The bus driver called me up front and very seriously told me "you know that you are not allowed to sit back come sit right behind me". Sigh!

    My Dad smiled when I told them the story. My Mom pursed her lips and quietly said "DDD you were raised to be a lady and I expect you to act like one." Vivian...just gave me a strange look the next day and baked my favorite cake. The lessons of childhood stay vivid even in old age, lol. by the way, $1000 sounds good to me in 2011 it must have been a fortune at that time. DDD
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    DDD you rock!

    I would just like to say that in my opinion staff entering the back door is NOT a racial thing. Staff is staff, and therefore SHOULD use the back door, regardless of race color or creed. However, if staff is invited over for a party as a guest (you know, like an office party) and then are asked to enter through the back, it is certainly a racial thing.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD, if you want me to send you that book I can, just pm me.

    Tony and I really liked the movie. It had funny moments, heart touching moments and moments that I really wished that I could change history. Normally we dont like the same movies but he has even told other people to go see this movie which is saying something.
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I'll let y'all know what I think in a few days. I ordered the book on Amazon and should have it Monday or Tuesday. Seeing as how the closest movie theater is 60 miles away and I get there maybe once every five years or so, I probably won't see the movie till it comes on TV.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The lessons of childhood stay vivid even in old age,
    Yes, for sure.

    Donna, you must live in the boondocks!

    P.S. I liked it just as well the 2nd time around, and picked up some cues and conversations I'd missed the first time.
  11. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    A friend has offered to lend me her copy of the book when she finishes but another friend asked me to go to the movies tomorrow to see it.

    I really want to see it but I always prefer to read the book first.

    I did read some negative reviews and statements on the movie as well.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My sister LOVED the book and told me to rush out and buy it. Well, before I did, I read the first chapter or so.

    I could not get into it. To me, it reminded me of a white woman trying to write as if she was black (which is what it was). I ended up not buying it, but I may see the movie. I remember segregation, NOT from my life (there was none in Illinois), but I remember how white people protested brutally while black kids tried to go to school in Alabama. It affected me for life. I watched it on TV and cried (I was about nine years old). I didn't understand. I decided I would NEVER judge people by their color and, of course, I ended up adopting children of different races.

    Maybe I'd like the movie after all.
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    DDD, your story sort of mimics the main character (without the college part of it) in the movie.
    I loved the story of the movie. Can't wait to get my hands on the audiobook. My friends that have read the book thought it was awesome.

    I don't care what Leonard says and apparently the rest of the country doesn't either, because it's extremely popular and it's like 2nd or 3rd on Amazon's top book list. It is an awesome movie!
  14. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I read the book last year before I even heard about the movie. I enjoyed the book but did not really relate to it because I grew up in the South Bronx. I had friends of mixed race and where I lived, in the projects, nobody had "help." on the other hand, none of the black women I knew were "help."

    I haven't seen the movie.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Keista, FWIW, no one else had to go in the back door at my grandmother's house. :( And T. said that sometimes it was easier to go in back, through the garage, or through the front door, depending upon what he had to do. So he went in the back door anyway.

    There was a huge line going into the ladies room after the movie. Everyone who had read the book, those who were black and white and mixed, all said they liked the book better but that they really enjoyed the movie. Apparently the airhead blonde with-all the miscarriages is a much more in-depth character in the book, and of course, the writing is good.

    What a way to sell books! Make a movie about someone writing a book, have it sell like hotcakes in the movie, stacked up in windows, then re-release it in real life!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think this is MY problem. I grew up near Chicago and nobody but rich people had help and the help got paid really well. None lived in the home or raised the kids. They just did the cleaning and went home. Although there were no blacks in the neighborhood I grew up in, I did not have hostile views of other races and mingled easily once I got older and joined the workforce.
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    MWM - I am an avid reader. I mean, I'll read almost anything. But... I had a hard time getting into it, too... And then... It grabbed me by the throat... :wink:
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Step, interesting. Maybe I should try again. I tend to give up if t he book doesn't grab me right away, although I am also a huge reader.
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I had really hoped to make it to this movie this weekend. My latest idea was to go to the matinee this afternoon but I got home 45 mins late from seeing difficult child because I had gotten stuck in traffic.

    Anyway, my perspective is that while I understand the movie was set at a period of time that is a repulsive period regarding race, my grandparents had hired "help" to help with cooking, cleaning, grandkids, etc. My earliest memory is of this being a young, black lady. I think she had been there several years but my memory only goes back so far. Then, after she found a better job, there was a young, white lady doing the same job. Once, I was taken to Alabama in the mid-60's and had no choice but to meet the most prejudice and discriminating people I have ever met in my life. I kept thinking though, that it couldn't be right to view black people as less than white people because my grandmother had really thought a lot of that black lady that had worked for her and my grandmother spoke very highly of her and her work, and I KNEW my grandparents would not have had her helping with us kids, cooking our food, and having us eat the food if there was something wrong with her. (Mind you, this is in a child's mind.) So, as it turns out, due to this hired "help", I strongly believe this is why I am not prejudice. I don't think we can expect that white people didn't have to think about those issues, given society at the time, so I don't hold that against white people. I do, however, hold it against those who refused to think about any rational reason for behavior or views and just continued discriminating.
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It's called rationalizing. It was typical to hear a white person say something like, "Yes, he's fine. Smart. Educated. Very, very nice. But what about his friends?"