Sometimes I will visit publisher sites to see if there's anything worth finding. Today I found my way to Algonquin Books. Author Martha Southgate's newest novel The Taste of Salt will be released at the end of September. I've had a chance to read it already. One the things I loved about it is the main characters very unexpected occupation. The writing is beautiful and many scenes broke my heart. Life is dramatic enough, the author doesn't use any tricks, simply letting it all unfold. There will be a proper review closer to the release date. Chapter One of The Taste of Salt
Though as the title states this is about Southgate on The Help. The author wrote a piece about bestselling novel turned movie by Kathryn Stockett in the most recent EW magazine.
"The current issue of Entertainment Weekly (August 12) has a wonderful cover story on The Help, the blockbuster book that was made into a movie, opening soon. As part of the photo-heavy spread, Entertainment Weekly asked Algonquin author Martha Southgate, whose new novel The Taste of Salt publishes 9/27, to write about the book. Her piece is below. Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine–one of our favorites around here–on newsstands now."
Algonquin Books was kind enough to rerun Southgate's article, and it's worth reading. I do wonder when Southgate or any reader who thought they weren't going to read The Help changed their mind. What was the tipping point?
I am still firmly in the I will not read camp. I had many customers try to convince me otherwise but I won't budge. Part of the reason for this hard line in the sand has to do with working in a bookstore in the South and having White customers tell me every day I just must read The Help.
In my head, all I could think was no I don't. I refuse to believe the authenticity of Black voices created by a White author by White readers who don't read Black authors. These were my customers so I know what they read. Not a single White customer that requested The Help asked for a novel by a Black author.
Stockett's novel was liked by many of my Black customers as well. I was a bit more curious, but knowing that a Black author would never have this amount of success with the same story, I still can't bring myself to read The Help. Now I know how some Asian readers probably felt with the success of Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha.