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What's the last thing you wrote on a paper napkin?
The title of whatever the person next to me was reading!
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Set in Stockett's native Jackson, MS, in the early 1960s, this first novel adopts the complicated theme of blacks and whites living in a segregated South. A century after the Emancipation Proclamation, black maids raised white children and ran households but were paid poorly, often had to use separate toilets from the family, and watched the children they cared for commit bigotry. In Stockett's narrative, Miss Skeeter, a young white woman, is a naive, aspiring writer who wants to create a series of interviews with local black maids. Even if they're published anonymously, the risk is great; still, Aibileen and Minny agree to participate. Tension pervades the novel as its events are told by these three memorable women. Is this an easy book to read? No, but it is surely worth reading. It may even stir things up as readers in Jackson and beyond question their own discrimination and intolerance in the past and present.
Rebecca Kelm - Library Journal
Ablene Cooper, a housekeeper who once worked for Stockett's brother, criticized the author for stealing her life story without her knowledge and basing the character Aibileen on her likeness. Cooper sued Stockett for $75,000 in damages. Cooper also criticized her for making the negative comparison of her character's skin color to that of a cockroach , which to many would be interpreted as racist.  A Hinds County , Mississippi judge dismissed the case, citing the statute of limitations .  Stockett denied her claim of stealing her likeness, stating that she only met her briefly.  
A lawsuit was filed in a Mississippi court by Ablene Cooper, a maid who used to work for Stockett's brother. It claimed that Stockett used her likeness in the book.   A Hinds County, Mississippi judge threw the case out of court, citing the statute of limitations .  Stockett denies her claim of stealing her likeness and says she only met her briefly. 
2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia .