'The Help': Runaway Literary Hit Keeps Book Clubs Buzzing

Soon to be a film, the novel strikes a chord with women of diverse backgrounds.

July 13, 2011 — -- It's a relationship almost everyone can relate to: the bond between a child and a caretaker. It begins in those early tender and trying moments and can undoubtedly last a lifetime. Stories on this invaluable rapport found a voice in a little book that became the unlikely success story of the literary world and even spawned a new feature film by the same name. "The Help" examines the intimate and complicated relationship between black maids and their white employers whose children they loved and raised in the 1960s in Jackson, Miss.

Despite 60 rejection letters, first-time author Katherine Stockett never gave up, and her hard work paid off. "The Help" became a runaway hit, spending more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and selling more than three million copies. It is now number 1 in fiction paperback sales and the upcoming film, produced by Disney -- the parent company of ABC News -- and Dreamworks, premieres nationwide August 10, 2011.

"The Help" became a must-read in book clubs across the country and made its way to the Essex Road Book Club in Maplewood, N.J.. The members of the book club have been meeting for a decade now and their backgrounds run the gamut, as long-time member Karen Duncan says: "From England to New England. From the Midwest to the South; different cultures, religions, ethnicities, but now all living in suburban New Jersey and love to read."

Their recent discussion on "The Help" went well into the night as they embarked on a powerful conversation on race, culture and moral compass. In the video above, they share why they are fascinated by the novel.

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