The Help - A Memory and A Giveaway

When I was a small child in Cuba B.C.* my family had "Help."

(*Before Castro)

Pita (pronounced in Spanish - PEE-TAH) was the family chauffer. He was a beautiful, old mulato that took us everywhere. Well, he took my mom and us kids everywhere. My dad drove himself to work and back. It fell to Pita to take us shopping and to the movies and to the beach. As he drove he would always tell us fantastic stories of his life. I remember him being hysterically funny and I remember that he and my dad were sit-around-the-back-porch-and-smoke-together friends.

Fausta was The Cook. We in turn adored and were terrorized by her. She was a very large woman and my memory gives her credit for the very best frijoles negros (black beans) that I will ever eat in my life.

Then there was Vicky. Her real name was Emildonia, but she made us call her Vicky. Our "manejadora," or nanny. She was beautiful and patient and kind. And we loved her desperately.

We left these beloved folks when we left Cuba in early 1961. They were very much a part of our family and it hurt to say goodbye. I often think back to those people and wonder about them and their stories. You know how much I like stories...

Fast forward to present day. (I promise you this ties in.)

Did you ever read a book and want desperately for it to be made into a movie? We bibliophiles spend a lot of time loving and hating on that premise.

We love the idea that our favorite literature may be coming to the big screen. We clap at the previews but then when we finally see the film are usually (at least mildly) disappointed in the way it was done. (I'm talking to you, Peter Jackson.) Am I right?

Such was the case with the book, The Help. Set in the south in the 1960's. From the press release for the movie:

It's about three women who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.

I was invited by Dreamworks Pictures to a pre-screening of the movie, The Help a few weeks ago and then again this last week while I was in San Diego for BlogHer 2011.

Can I just tell you how much I loved it? In fact, I loved it so much the first time that I was delighted to get a second chance to see it. (Thanks, Dreamworks!)


I was not at all disappointed. The characters came to life almost exactly as I had pictured them. The story was funny and poignant and breathtaking.

As I watched the plot unfold, I remembered our own "Help" back in Cuba. I connected most to the character of Skeeter who wanted to use her gift as a writer to help these women tell their stories.

And I definitely reached for my tissues more than once, but that's not important right now.

I am in love with this film. Seriously. And not just with the story and characters, but with the look and feel of it. The cinematography is brilliant.


So I was triply (<--Is that a word?) delighted when the generous folks at Dreamworks were gracious enough to let me offer a giveaway.

1) The prize pack from Dreamworks Pictures includes all of these:

- THE HELP t-shirt in adult female sizes of S, M, L, XL (The winner can let me know their size.)


- THE HELP pocket jotter & pen


- THE HELP fan


- THE HELP nail file/mirror


2) I also have an extra copy of the book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (This is my own to give away. You're very welcome.)


So, to enter this drawing, please answer one or all of the following questions:

  • If you read the book, do you have a favorite character?
  • Did you ever have "Help?"
  • If you have not read the book, have you heard good things about it?
  • Do you have a story to tell? Tell me.

Remember that if you want to enter the drawing for the Dreamworks gift pack and the book, you must leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 5 pm Pacific. (That's also the day the movie comes out in theaters, Go. See. It.)

Thanks again, Dreamworks!