The debut novel by Kathryn Stockett (pictured), The Help, is the story of black domestic servants working in Mississippi during the 1960s. It was published last year to rave reviews, and has sold more than 2 million copies. But one person's not happy with it: Ablene Cooper, a 60 year-old maid for Stockett's brother, who Stockett apparently used as the basis for one of the main characters in her book, "Aibileen." According to the WSJ:
Ms. Cooper contends she was embarrassed by passages that describe "Aibileen" speaking in a thick ethnic vernacular and at one point comparing her skin color to that of a cockroach...
According to the lawsuit, the book says "Aibileen" is an African-American, middle-aged, has a gold tooth and has a deceased son-all of which match Ms. Cooper.
It is her, don't even lie! Of course, letting people successfully sue authors because they didn't like characters based on them in works of fiction would be comically horrible precedent. Still, gaze in awe at the potential for discomfort here: elderly black maid sues young white woman who made a pile of money fictionalizing the life of said elderly black maid—who still works for said white woman's brother. (And hey, The Help movie version's coming out in August!)
Totally awkward Fourth of July volleyball picnic this year at the Stockett family homestead.