Author: Kathryn Stockett, 2009.
Genre: Period Fiction.1960s USA. Race relations.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio Book, Length: 18 hours, 6 mins. Narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell.
This was my third reading of this novel about African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s and the young white woman who wishes to give them a voice. This time round it was the June selection for our library reading group and I decided that I'd refresh my memory of its story, characters and themes by listening to its award winning audio edition.
This was a very strong production with voice actors taking the parts of Aibileen. Minnie and Skeeter as well as an overall narrator for those sections of the novel without a first person narrator. I found that while I had retained a great deal from my previous readings, that listening brought an extra dimension over the printed page. Most notable were the emotions brought by the actors, especially anger, which was mainly expressed by Octavia Spencer in her sections as Minnie. I learned from an interview with the author offered by Audible that Spencer had been the original inspiration for the character of Minnie as well as playing her here and in the BBC radio and film adaptations.
The audiobook won the 2010 Audie award for Fiction & Distinguished Achievement in Production. Well deserved in my option. As expected the novel did generate a great deal of discussion at our meeting.
Kathryn Stockett's page on 'The Help' - including excerpt and Q&A with the author.
Author: Lee Weatherly and Helen Corner, 2006.
Genre: Non-fiction. Creative Writing.
Other Details: Paperback. 210 pages.
As stated on the cover, this is a practical guide to writing novels for publication and how to proceed from a first draft through the editing process and then submission to agents, etc.. Lee Weatherly wrote the first section on writing and it was clear that she's applied these ideas on pacing, characterization and the like to good use in her own novels (Angel Trilogy). Helen Corner wrote the Introduction and Part 2 on getting published.
It's been a book I've dipped into over the past couple of weeks and found it provided some interesting tips that I'll likely apply to my next NaNoWriMo project.