Monday, August 15

RESPONSES TO THE HELP

"The Help," the movie, debuted nationwide last Wednesday. Based on the Kathryn Stockett novel of the same name, and filmed mostly in Greenwood, Mississippi, it's earning good box office and getting good to mixed reviews.

Here's the NYT review, by Manhola Dargis, who calls the film a "big, ole slab of honey-glazed hokum," but celebrates the "determined grace" of actor Viola Davis.

Valerie Boyd, author of the Zora Neal Hurston biography, Wrapped in Rainbows, takes a harsher view in her essay on the film and on broader cultural concerns.

In the next issue of Gravy, the SFA's food letter, we run an essay by Audrey Petty of the University of Illinois. She appraises Stockett's book against a backdrop of an incisive new academic book Cooking in Other Women's Kitchens, written by Rebecca Sharpless, and published by UNC Press.

Speaking of Sharpless, in an H-Net review, Alexander Hendley of UC-Santa Barbara calls her book "an important contribution to the existing historical research on African American women domestic workers and their employers in the United States."