The hard-won success of "The Help"by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Kathryn Stockett's novel "The Help" was the surprise literary success of 2009.
Set in segregationist Mississippi in the 1960s, it's a story about African American maids and their complicated relationships with their white employers.
It's told from the viewpoints of two maids and a young, white woman who secretly write a book about the maids lives.
Some 60 agents rejected Stockett's manuscript, but eventually she found a publisher. "The Help" has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 56 weeks so far.
Stockett is in the Twin Cities for a reading tonight. She told Euan Kerr she drew the three main characters from her own life growing up in Jackson, Mississippi.
- All Things Considered, 05/04/2010, 4:50 p.m.