"Michy" wrote:Coincidentally, I am currently re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It's been many years since I've read it, and I don't remember that much about it, believe it or not. I will be keeping this discussion of The Help in mind as I read it again (or listen to it, actually, as it's an audio version).
I re-read TKAM before I read The Help. It was a set book for me at school and I loved it. Re-reading as an adult, I saw flaws but they were nearly all writing issues, not historical issues. Reading it and The Help together was very enlightening. For me, Harper Lee made all the right choices and Kathryn Stockett made all the wrong ones (although she references Mockingbird several times and at least one scene, the fundraising scene, is derivative of it). Lee represents the white characters as speaking in dialect, as well as the black ones, and she differentiates between the language Calpurnia uses at work and at home, which Stockett doesn't. The relationship between Calpurnia and the children is close but not sentimentalised - Scout wants Atticus to sack Calpurnia at one point. Her book is about coming of age. Stockett's book is about not coming of age - Skeeter finishes the book slightly less ignorant but just as self-centred and immature as when she starts it. Mockingbird is about childhood, The Help is childish. I thought it was like comparing an Old Master to the identical oil paintings of sunsets you see in stacks of 20 or 30 piled up on the pavement by a Piccadilly street stall.
Anyway, you might not agree, but either way I'd love to hear what you think when you're done.