About me

The way we now receive and view information has changed. And its all because of the internet.

I started this blog in June of 2010, because  I needed to get my research and thoughts out to the public faster than waiting for a traditional publisher. It’s succeeded far beyond my initial hopes. At some point I suppose I will submit a non-fiction proposal, but right now I’m content with this blog.

If any of my posts are used, I do hope people cite them and respect the copyright laws.

Anyway, about me . . . let’s see, I’m a mom, a college graduate, I have a day job, I come from a multicultural family and I love to read.

My dad was in the Navy during the Korean War and that’s probably why Stockett’s depiction of the black males gets on my nerves.

My mom is a formidable southern woman. She insisted on classical piano lessons for all her children, and that having a good education was important. When I was younger, I mistakenly thought her grandfather was a white man, and that’s when I learned about black white relations in the south.

That’s it for now.

Update as of Sept 4, 2012: http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/its-all-over-but-the-shouting-my-venture-into-ebook-pubbing/

29 Responses “About me” →
  1. I’m intrigued by your writing and would like to cite you as a source; however, I cannot find your name anywhere on your site. Is that information you would be willing to provide?

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    I am the Managing Editor of the Washington Informer newspaper in D.C. and would love to run your Critical Review of the The Help in our next edition. Please let me know if that is possible. Thought it was great!
    Shantella Sherman

    Reply
  3. I am also hoping to cite in a review of the Help for firstofthemonth.org. I teach in Virginia, and am also going to use it in my African American women’s history class. Thank YOU ever so much for pulling all of this together. Please let me know how you’d like it cited and if I can reprint one or two quotes in the review.

    Reply
  4. Excellent site. I have grudgingly started reading the book to see what the hype was about for myself and find the level of pandering appropriation enraging. Thanks for the historical commentary and layering.

    Reply
  5. You’re tremendous. I used this blog as my fuel to explain how/why this book is so horrifying. Some of my pals are all excited the movie coming out and I really needed these posts, laying out the insensitivity, the consistently sloppy portrayals and blatant racism of the text.

    Thanks for the comprehensive analysis. Truly brilliant.

    Oh, and I hate Mark Twain, too (as he’s currently taught in school), the sloppy son of a bitch. :)…

    http://sassafrasjunction.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn-samuel-clemmens-aka-mark-lazy-ass-twain/

    Reply
    • Hi Sorcia,

      Thanks for your comment.
      People like what they like you know? All you can do is hope if you lay out another side for them to analyze that they’ll get where you’re coming from.

      I started this blog because I was tired of arguing with the amount of people who loved the novel, cause there were so many I thought I was the only one who didn’t care for the book.
      Glad to see I’m not alone, and that even those who love the book are willing to consider the issues brought up.

      Reply

  6. sarahjhughes

    August 9, 2011

    Hi I’m writing a feature on the film version of The Help for The Independent newspaper in the UK and think this is a great site, is it possible to quote from it for the piece? Also how would you like me to refer to you in that case?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah,

      You can use Onyx M or either A Critic of The Help.
      And really, I’d like to thank you for stopping by and at least having a look at the issues. People don’t have to agree with them, but they should at least know there is dissention and it’s not just over the “dialect”

      Reply
  7. Well, I’m both happy and sad to see this incredibly comprehensive website. Happy, because it is beautifully done, easy to get around in, professional. Happy, because I was deeply offended by Stockett’s novel and utterly shocked at the response and attention it received (where are the other thinking white women?! we aren’t all such easy marks, are we??). Happy, because your opinions mirror my many emails regarding the novel and now the movie. Sad, because I had hoped to write about this myself, and you’ve pretty much covered it all. Sad, because this novel, while it has opened up debate and brought forth a great deal of emotion, is poorly written, shallow, pandering. Sad, because people like me perpetuate the myth that this novel is worthy of attention…. I will comment in more detail later on, after I get a chance to look through the site. For now, thank you for creating this informative and evocative treasure trove of information. Sincerely, Lauren Bishop-Weidner

    Reply
    • Hi Lauren,

      We’ve got an active discussion going on amazon.com about the book here:
      http://goo.gl/paBQu

      Please join us. You’ll be among friends there. And yes, contrary to how the media tried to portray the novel as being “beloved by everyone in the universe, it just wasn’t so.

      Thanks for your comments,

      Reply
  8. I’m more than appreciative for all the hard work and insight that has gone into creating this site and putting forth your critiques in such a well though out, effective manner.

    It’s not so easy to dismiss this way, and in my experience, complaints about having our story and our plights accurately represented with sympathy are often, almost always dismissed as our asking for more. . . again.

    It’s easy for me to just accept this as the way things are and become jadedly complacent.

    So thank you for putting this site together, I’m slowly making my way through the posts, I’ve bookmarked it and I’m sharing it, too. : )

    Reply
  9. Hi Onyx M,

    I’d love to use portions of your excellent content on The Help for an ebook I am publishing, would you be interested in a royalty for usage? If so email me

    Reply

  10. grapefruit13

    January 4, 2012

    Hey Onyx!
    I’m writing an essay for English class comparing and contrasting elements of To Kill A Mockingbird and The Help. The aspect I’m focusing on is the “Mammy”-factor; this is in regard to Aibileen, Minny and Calpurnia. I just wanted to say that your website was super helpful and if you have any tips/advice/information regarding the topic it would be greatly appreciated!
    -Jenny

    Reply
    • Hello grapefruit13,

      Thanks for your post. I guess the only thing I can add is that in To Kill A Mockingbird, Jem is the main narrator. Edited to add: Strike that. It’s Scout, not Jem, as Lauren was kind enough to remind me. The reader sees things through her eyes, even Calpurnia.

      This is important because in the Help, many readers who enjoyed the novel felt they truly “knew” Aibileen and Minny because they were written in the first person, and that Stockett had successfully authored two authentic and distinct black women.

      I’d say Calpurnia falls into the “bossy” territory. She’s more authoritarian and if I can recall correctly (its been a while since I read TKAM) she doesn’t use similes.

      Reply
  11. First, Jem is Scout’s older brother; the voice so prominent in “TKAM” belongs to the adult Scout (Jean Louise Finch), looking back. Second, Lee circumvents the hole Stockett falls into by keeping the perspective relatively pure and uncluttered. Scout sees only what the child she was saw. Stockett tries to be all things to all people. In my opinion, Stockett’s biggest error–and the one this website will help you to illuminate–is her complete lack of authentic research into the time she attempts to portray.

    Reply
  12. A really good site. Stumbled on your site by accident as I was looking for black and white photos of black maids during the 60s. This was just for my site and wow, look what I found. Your critique is spot on. But the worst is about the real Abileen. That her life was ‘taken’ and written about, without permission. I hope she gets more than 50,000.

    Reply
  13. If the book The Help really bothers you why go after the book and its author? Anyone can write a book but someone has to publish it. A company with editors just let all of the book’s mistakes slip though the cracks and continue to be read as it is published in multiple countries. Not to mention many reviewers and booksellers that ignored this mistakes as well as the film director and movie reviewers It would seem that your battle is not with the author that had a flawed perception of her family’s history but of the a whole system.

    Reply
    • Hello Where is your voice,

      Thanks for your post.

      “It would seem that your battle is not with the author that had a flawed perception of her family’s history but of the a whole system.”

      Stockett is part of that system.

      By playing favorites and making certain that the males of her racial group were not cast in an unflattering light, while sit-com silly women like Hilly appeared to be pulling the strings in Jackson MS even though recorded history shows differently, then the author has rubberstamped her acceptance of an erroneous storyline.

      And also note, that a real life black maid named Abilene Cooper (who works for Stockett’s brother) is being ignored by Stockett and co., because she failed to find Stockett’s use of her first name and pieces of her life flattering or funny.

      http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/please-join-the-do-right-by-abilene-cooper-movement/

      The author and her group of close friends (in published reports the author has started that the director and screenwriter Tate Taylor as well as one of the co-producers all shared similar childhoods) concocted this revisionist, rose colored fantasy, and some people bought it.

      I didn’t, and others who are in the minority of dissenters which include both black and white. But the premise and depictions came from Stockett and her co-horts.
      Communication is the key. And in today’s society, there are various methods to get one’s opinion or research out to the public. I have a fundamental difference when noting how Stockett resurrected antebellum theories/brainwashing that I recognized from my youth, such as “We love them and they love us.”

      That premise originated during slavery and continues to be used by some southerners to dismiss how African American workers were treated.

      http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/they-love-us-sez-who/

      It’s as if this concept can cover a multitude of injustices, and Stockett knows it. That’s probably why she used it, as its been used by other authors when depicting race. In the back of the book the author makes it quite clear that her grandparents home still practiced under the rules of segregation, even though the author grew up in the 70s and 80s.

      It was inexcusable then for Stockett not to realize much of what she’d put in her book, which made its way to the movie were simply ideologies and demeaning myths about African Americans, which the author subsequently put into the dialogue of the black characters as thought to be amusing anecdotes that really weren’t. Her main black characters, who default into the Aunt Jemima mode read as stupid, not admirable imo.

      If you read enough of my posts then you’ll note I also mention where the publisher failed as well as the studio who took on the project. These entities simply went for the dollars without checking to see if Stockett’s fiction had real flaws in its depiction of southern life for African Americans.

      And please understand, I’m not the only one less than enamored with The Help. In case mainstream media has not reported on it, there are a professional group of historians as well as professors such as Melissa Harris Perry (MSNBC and Tulane University professor) Martha Southgate (author and professor) who have publicly voiced similar issues with the novel.

      Another key point is how many whites overwhelmingly crowned Stockett’s work as being almost flawless, and failed to see how her characters simply mirrored the stereotypes afforded to blacks by other well known female authors who wrote about race, such as Fannie Hurst (Imitation of Life) and Edna Ferber (Showboat). Once this was done, any voices of dissention were drowned out.

      Some examples: Dumbo (the stereotypical crows)
      Little Black Sambo and now The Help joins this list of dubious “beloved” works which skew the black culture in favor of defaulting to known, and unfortunately well accepted caricatures.

      http://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/classics-we-now-question/

      It’s only now that a second look and real critique is occurring, when it should have been done when the novel first came out. And please also understand, I realize there were a number of African American reviewers who also missed what Stockett got wrong.

      It highlights a continuing problem of perception not just with African Americans written by authors who don’t bother to explore or research a culture they admit having no real idea about, but other groups deemed minorities.

      I’m not of the mindset that because African Americans are generally overlooked in much of today’s literature (we’re usually the faithful side kick or best friend with the snappy quips, which we’ve still been reduced to in The Help) that any representation is better than none.

      Because as someone who lives and works in the real world, representations which fall back on known stereotypes do more harm than good, especially for those who have limited association with African Americans but believe we’re just like the blacks on screen.

      Reply
  14. Hey there – I just wanted to drop a line after randomly looking at some stats from my long-abandoned book blog (itwasuphillbothways). Since reading The Help, and spending time after finishing it, reading critical essays and listening to discussions and podcasts, etc., and then seeing the movie – yeah, I’m with you. Thanks for your interjecting and your work on this blog. Take care. – Chris

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for stopping by. For quite a while I felt alone in the wilderness with my critique, but the movie coming out changed all that. Many thanks for your comments!

      Reply
  15. thanks a lot all i needed was chapter 18

    Reply
3 Trackbacks For This Post
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