A woman who works as a maid for Stockett's brother claims that Aibileen, a main character in the book, is modeled after her. AND the real-life woman's name is Ablene. Coincidence? Could be.
The lawsuit, which seeks $75,000 in damages, was filed in Jackson, Mississippi, where the novel is set. A hearing is set for August 16th.
As a novelist, I understand how similarities can occur. We hear a name or recall an incident, and it's incorporated into our story. Face it, often experiences in an author's life (of the life of a friend or family member) find their way into our fiction. And more than one story was inspired from a headline.
Here are a few more details about the controversy.