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Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Have a question for Kathryn? Ask it here!
Reader
luvmygirls0
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-25-2007
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn!

 

I just wanted to say how amazing I thought this book was. It was clearly a labor of love. It brought me to tears several times.

 

It is hard for me, as a minority person living in Southern California, to believe that such prejudices existed in the Deep South just a few short decades ago. Your book helped me appreciate the civil rights that I have taken for granted my entire life.

 

I have a couple of questions.

 

You mentioned that you were really concerned about your ability to accurately represent the voices of the African-American women in the book. How did you go about creating the language that they used? And what has been the reaction of women who actually lived through those times - did they feel that you captured their experiences accurately?

 

I was also wondering - and this is a really stupid question - how do you pronounce Aibileen? As I was making my way through the book, I wanted to be able to say her name in my mind, but I wasn't sure how to say it.

 

And lastly - what are you working on now, and how soon can we get our hands on it?!?!?

 

Thank you for bringing the world an amazing read.

 

:smileyhappy:Carol

Author
Kathryn_Stockett
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
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Q&A: The reaction of African American's and what's up for Book 2


luvmygirls0 wrote:

Hi Kathryn!

 

I just wanted to say how amazing I thought this book was. It was clearly a labor of love. It brought me to tears several times.

 

It is hard for me, as a minority person living in Southern California, to believe that such prejudices existed in the Deep South just a few short decades ago. Your book helped me appreciate the civil rights that I have taken for granted my entire life.

 

I have a couple of questions.

 

You mentioned that you were really concerned about your ability to accurately represent the voices of the African-American women in the book. How did you go about creating the language that they used? And what has been the reaction of women who actually lived through those times - did they feel that you captured their experiences accurately?

 

I was also wondering - and this is a really stupid question - how do you pronounce Aibileen? As I was making my way through the book, I wanted to be able to say her name in my mind, but I wasn't sure how to say it.

 

And lastly - what are you working on now, and how soon can we get our hands on it?!?!?

 

Thank you for bringing the world an amazing read.

 

:smileyhappy:Carol


Hi Carol,
Thanks so much for joining the forum and thank you for your kind words.
I'll answer your easiest questions first:  Aibileen is pronounced with a long A.
As for book 2, I am working on a novel based in Mississippi that takes place during the Great Depression.  I'm fascinated by how far a family would go to survive-- to protect their own lives, to help a stranger they'd never see again.  What laws would they break and what manners and niceties would they let fall away, because priorities changed.  White gloves and napkins didn't feed a hungry family, no matter what finishing school their daughters attended.
I hope the story works out.  It's due January 2011. 
As for language, I used dialect that didn't set off the spell checker.  If it's a word in the dictionary, my teacher told me I was allowed to use it any way I wanted. That's pretty much what I learned in four and a half years of college. 
That said, I listened to the voices from my childhood, playing out the past.  I don't know if I got it all right.  Probably I didn't.  But I wanted the story to be told.  I had to try.
Has it been well received by the black community?  I can't say for sure.  But I've gotten emails from all over the world, from Southern African Americans to white South Africans, telling me they connect with the book and relate to the message-- we are all just people, not that much separates us.  
Of course, there have been some naysayers, black and white, but in most cases, they refuse to read it.  I don't mind the critics-- there are plenty of books out there I didn't care for.  But if they don't read it, I don't know how to respond to them yet.  If you won't eat my cooking, how can you say it tastes bad?
I bet I'm going to get in trouble for some of this, so I'll stop now.  Thanks so much for writing in, Carol.  Best to you and your family.  I like your user name.
KS 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn! I just wanted to let you know that I'm loving your book. You did an excellent job describing the lives of your three main characters and I feel very involved in each of their lives. I was just wondering where the idea for this novel came from and how long did it take you to write The Help? Thanks!
April
Author
Kathryn_Stockett
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
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Q&A: The genesis of The Help and the writing process

Hi April,

 

I was raised in Jackson, Mississippi.  Our family had a wonderful woman working for us, named Demetrie.  She came to wait on my grandmother in 1955 and stayed with us for the next 33 years.  

 

Demetrie had a profound effect on my life.  My parents divorced when I was very young-- in a town and a time when that was still uncommon.  Even though she was my grandmother's maid, Demetrie took care of me quite often.  And I remember not feeling so great about myself, being the youngest, feeling kind of left over, my parents traveling.  Demetrie found ways to make sure that I knew, in her eyes, I was just fine.

 

I'm going to post a short essay I wrote about this and the impact she had on my life.  I hope you'll read it. 

 

It took me five years to write The Help.  I am a slow writer, slow talker.  Slow everything.  But I hope the book turned out better because of it.

 

Many thanks for your questions and lovely comments.

KS 

Inspired Contributor
dclement04
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎09-30-2008
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn!

 

First and foremost this book was absolutely amazing! I finished this book in about 3 weeks, I couldn't put it down.

 

I have now recommended this book to my book club online and all of my friends. It is a book that is being passed around my office at so far the majority rules that as your first novel it is FANTASTIC!!

 

My question to you is that do you think your next book will be a part of the BnN First Look Club when it comes out?

 

If it is I am definately going to try and register for that.

 

Keep up the good work and I can't wait until your next novel!!

 

Danielle C.

Correspondent
momgee
Posts: 584
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn, I already posted in the introduction thread, but just wanted to reiterate how wonderful I think your book is. Every review on a blog that I have read is extremely positive (rated it a 5 * on my blog) and deservedly so. I was thrilled to see that your book is on the NYT best seller list. Congrats! It's going to be a long wait unti 2011 to read your next book.

 

Kaye

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
Author
Kathryn_Stockett
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Thank you, Danielle, for all your kind words and for passing the book along.  I don't know if Book 2 will be a part of the First Look Club.  There is very little I know about, until it happens, which is kind of wonderful.  

 

That said, if you're interested in signing up on the website, you'll get a brief email before Book 2 is released, with the title and what it's about.  Those are things I am trying to figure out as we speak.  www.kathrynstockett.com

 

Many, many thanks.  

 

Best,

KS 

 

 

 

 

Author
Kathryn_Stockett
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hey Kaye!  Thanks so much for your intro posting.  It's surreal and encouraging to hear from readers that like the book who aren't even related to me.

 

I'm having a ball writing book 2.  Hopefully it will move along quickly.

 

Many, many thanks,

 

KS 

Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn, do you have any questions for us, your readers?
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
New User
sive
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-26-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn- By any chance do you know Betty and Richard Stockett who lived at the Stockett Apartments at 1065 Poplar Blvd, Jackson in the early 1960's?
New User
sippi
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-27-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

I posted on the opening thread also but wanted to put my two cents in here. Like one of the earlier readers I am now living in california, but am a native mississippian. I was born in forest ms and raised in Jackson. who knows maybe we crossed path somewhere along the way.

 

My mother was the help. She raised 4 children and sent 3 of us to college on her maids salary and our fathers small social security check.

 

I came across your book while browsing through my kindle. I tried the sample and was hooked after I saw the area you used in the book. My mother worked for familes off of old canton road. I could see myself back home. Even with the politcal incorrectness of MS, I love my state and its people.

 

Your mention of Scanlon Taylor Mill and the names you used really brought back some old memories. My father worked at Scanlon Taylor until his death from Hodkins disese at the age of 39.

 

Do you have any connection with the Mill or is it just someplace you remember from living in Jksn?

 

Also, My grandmother was named Eula Mae, so you really got the names right..

 

I have not read the entire book yet, but I give you credit for capturing my attention on a subject that i feel I really should write the other half too. Thanks for being brave enough

to do so.

New User
Viamber
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-18-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hi Kathryn,

 

Just finished THE HELP and found it quite riveting. I am a Black woman, born in the South, and, of course, aware of all of the "issues" during that era you depict so well. I felt all of the characters were richly drawn. You got Minny and Aibileen just right! Wisely, you left out the "hair issue", something I'm sure you know little or nothing about (although you did mention "naps", which cracked me up!)

 

My main question has to deal with some dialogue between Skeeter and Aibileen on page 151 of the book. She has just told Skeeter about being fired from her first job because she miscounted the silver and then she starts talking about a white boy's fingers being cut off by the fan. Where/when did this happen? At the house before she was fired? Later on? That was unclear to me. Thank you so much, in advance!

Abandon all hope ye who enter here!
New User
Maureen51
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-09-2010
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Dear Kathryn,

To a person, everyone in our book group loved this wonderful book.  We appreciated the full character development and the unique voice of each character.  However, I brought up a question that no one was able to answer.  While beautiful, what was the significance of the book cover?  We thought of "BIrd on a Wire", but even that had little significance for us.  Could you help us, please?

Thanks,

Maureen

New User
MAmomof4
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
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Re: The Help: Questions for Kathryn Stockett

Hello,

 

I absolutely loved this book. It always amazes me what a short time has passed since the world was like this. Growing up in New England and being born in the seventies, I never really witnessed these kind of relationships first hand, glimpses in to them make me realize how easy my life has been. At the same time, I feel like so many of these relationships still exist and I was surprised how well I related to the characters or could easily identify them with someone from my own life.

I read the book in two days and perhaps my speed made me miss the explanation but, I have a nagging question. Where does Elizibeth's mother live now and why? If Elizabeth grew up in Jackson with Hilly and Skeeter why does her mother come in from out of town? Wouldn't it be typical that she would still live there?

Thanks in Advance!

Carrie