The Help

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You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

I'm just back from seeing The Help (at the stately Capitol Theater in Arlington, MA) with my daughter.

I adored the book (thanks for recommending Rebecca Cressman); the film was no less satisfying.  Before I discuss a few lessons learned about daring to dream (which were in my book, but didn't make the  publisher's cut), here's a quick overview from Publisher’s Weekly:

[The Help is] set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories, bringing pride and hope to the entire black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams.

Apart from the wonder of a film with female protagonists, there is so much to draw from this story—the importance of putting ourselves at the center of our lives, of giving voice to who we are, of making and owning choices, and recognizing that as we face our most daunting challenges, we develop strengths that will serve us as we dream. We also observe that when Skeeter pursues her dream of writing a book, she is offered a job in New York. Because Aibileen is willing to tell her story, and galvanize others to do the same, she is given the opportunity to become a columnist for the local paper. When Minnie screws up the courage to tell her stories, she grabs onto who she is enough that she can leave her abusive husband. Most importantly, when these women dream they are invited to dream again.

What were your takeaways?

P.S.  I also loved the quote — "Love and hate are two horns of the same goat."

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