Of course an author will always borrow from real life but according to Abilene Cooper there are so many parts in the book exactly like her life that she was in tears. Not that these sorts of claims are never made, in America it happens a lot. However, Abilene Cooper only asks for 50 000 pounds, which is not that much if you compare it to previous claims and if you look at how much money Stockett will probably make from the movie. According to her lawyer she just wants the hypocrisy to stop and feels violated by Stockett.
Stockett actually once said in an interview: ‘When I was writing this book, I never thought anyone else would read it so I didn’t get real creative with names. I just used people I knew.’ How much of this is an admission to actually copying her sister's servant's life? Also, she sent Abilene a copy of er book before it was released, saying it was not based on her. Who sends someone a copy of a book that apparently is not about them?
I understand it is hard to draw a line between borrowing from life and creating your own story. All books are based on human lives, however I do not think you can simply copy someone's life without asking their permission. Writing about events that happened due to segregation, discrimination, etc., and I mean real events, is perfectly fine. Books build around the Civil Rights movement and any other important, life-changing campaigns, deserve to be written and read. But singling out one person and writing about her life without doing the research and without the permission is wrong, in my humble opinion.
Some people say that Abilene Cooper should not be complaining because her character in the book is a very positive representation. Then again, her skin is described as having the colour of a cockroach, how flattering is that? And no matter how positive, would you not like to be informed about what is happening with your life?
What are your thoughts on this? Have you read the book?