Just finished reading The Help by Mississippi author Kathryn Stockett. I know I'm late to the game, as the book's been receiving rave reviews since it was published in 2009. I really enjoyed it -- great characters, lots of plot twists, and a satisfying ending. As a novel, it was very engaging. As a political commentary on race relations, to me it seemed powerful, but I wonder what African American audiences think.
For me, growing up in Scotland as a white person and moving to the States well after the Civil Rights Movement, I feel like an outsider to this part of history. Are the characters realistic, both white and black? Stockett studied Susan Tucker's book Telling Memories Among Southern Women, and she obviously knows her subject, growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. Mainstream media love her novel, as do book clubs. But what about specifically black audiences? Or is it not cool to ask that question?