Monday, February 10, 2014

The Butler - A Witness to History

Book Review

The Butler - A Witness to History by Wil Haygood.

I had been hearing a lot of talk about The Butler. The movie. Which I haven't seen. 

So when I was in the library browsing the New Releases shelves, I saw this and I couldn't help but to pick this up. 

Such a small, approachable book. Why not?

I thought it would be great to read about The Bulter. It sounded like such a great story. It might just be a great book.

Time to find out.

The Butler - A Witness to History

I owe this book a thank you. From it, I quickly learned that the movie depicts fictional characters, only partially based on real people.  I was seriously disappointed by this. I was expecting the movie to depict the actual butler. But it doesn't. 

This book is about the actual butler.  And his wife did not look anything like Oprah Winfrey.

But you'll have to read the book to discover that.

The movie was based on a article written for The Washington Post. This book came after the movie completed filming. This is a disappointment.

I thought this book was going to be the story about the butler. Instead, it is the story about the writing of the article and the making of the movie and the fight for racial equality in this country and the struggles for racial representation (forget equality) in the movie industry.

I had been expecting, hoping, to learn all about the actual butler. I did, but only a little. Not as much as I had hoped.

The author is clearly very deeply embedded in his subject. The only problem with this is that he doesn't do a great job of bringing the reader along with him.

In the author's acknowledgements, he notes that his editor contacted him after the filming of the movie had finished. She asked him if he ws interested in writing a book "about Eugene Allen.". His words. But this book isn't really that much about Allen. A bit, yes. Mostly not. That is so unfortunate. I had had been looking forward to a book about Eugene Allen. But I didn't exactly get it.

It it sounds like I won't get it from the movie, either.

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