Although Kathryn Stockett’s novel, The Help, came out nearly a year ago, it remains to date on the New York Times Top 10 Bestselling Fiction list… Forty weeks of its shelf life in fact, it has spent jostling with other titles on the list, still sitting comfortably at No. 4 as of January 11th.
In this list-watching way, I waited patiently, patiently for my copy to move to number 1 on the library holds list. When I finally had the massive 444-page, hard bound copy in my hands, I grabbed a blanket, made cup after cup of tea and spent nearly two days on the couch plowing through Ms. Stockett’s tale of black domestic servants in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, and the white privileged woman who wants to write about them.
Betty is enslaved, while also being the slave master. This is what I hate about her. She wants freedom and agency when it is convenient. She wants to come down off the pedestal, but she seems unwilling, at least at this point in the narrative, to give up the privilege that comes with being idealized.
I, too, have been bristling at Betty's bad behaviour for some time. I don't think I'm alone in that; there has been something altogether vicious about the way the show has been writing her character of late, something biting and mean about every word that comes out of her mouth. Until about the middle of season two, I could have chalked this up to what I personally felt were the subpar talents of January Jones, but she has grown into Betty's shoes. And in that context I'm starting to blame both the viewers and the writers for all the vitriol hurled Betty's way.