The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a must read! I'm in the midst of it right now and can't read it fast enough. She paints such a vivid picture and is pitch perfect in her dialogue. If you want to read a book that nails voice, this is it!
And if you haven't heard Stockett, now a New York Times #1 bestselling novelist, was rejected 60 times for the manuscript of The Help. Lucky agent #61 took her on and took a chance and boy has it paid off. Here's the article as well as a post about it from agent Jill Corcoran (note, not Stockett's agent but reflecting on rejection and finding the right agent).
Now that it's being made into a major motion picture there's a second cover released for the novel:
Here's the original which I LOVE as it's so simple and yet ties in so nicely with the storyline, as it plays on the saying, "a little birdie told me" and, of course, there's three main characters.
Here's the description and if this doesn't sell you then take my word for it. YOU. MUST. READ. THIS. BOOK. *yells from soapbox*
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
The movie opens August 12 and I am sooooo excited about it. I adore Emma Stone and especially loved her in Easy A where she was charismatic and witty and completely likeable and I can't wait to see her now as Skeeter. I've also heard this is going to have a killer soundtrack with greats like Mary J. Blige lending their talent. If you haven't checked out the trailer yet, here you go:
To celebrate I'm hosting a contest to win a softcover book of The Help. Contest officially starts now and runs until 6 pm on August 4. Winner will be announced August 5. Rules include:
1. You must be a follower of the blog (2 entries if you're a long time follower)
2. To enter you must email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with "The Help contest entry" in the subject line.
3. Extra entry for any of the following: refer a friend, post a comment, Facebook this, follow me on Twitter (2 entries if you're a long time follower), or tweet, "Enter @SCookRay contest at www.sarahcookraymond.blogspot.com to win THE HELP"
That's it! And if you have any questions you can email me too.
Confession: I temporarily thought about pulling a Skeeter and making the entries about cleaning advice just for a book tie-in but let's be honest, I wouldn't know if "use a raw potato to pull out a broken light" was made up or sheer genius. I'm still trying to figure out where Stockett found all that advice. Was there really a Miss Myrna advice column she researched? If you know, please spill. And, of course, good luck!