Gone with the Wind
April 21, 2008, 12:33 pm
Filed under: Books | Tags: , , ,

Something you might need to understand about me is my weakness for historical fiction. Blame my father. It’s all his fault.

Specifically, I have a weakness for Gone with the Wind. THAT particular weakness is my mother’s. My dad likes history, my mom likes GWTW. So, blame my parents! That works! This is something I’ll be able to complain about BOTH of them in therapy. I know, I know, I should be ashamed of myself. It degrades black people, talks up slavery like it’s good, and forgives the assholes who kept slaves in the first place. It is a blatant antebellum-sympathetic, nauseating movie/book.

But I love it. I can’t help it. Many of the greatest lines in the history of movies and books come from GWTW: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” is the best eff-you ever. When Mammy yells at Scarlett for going down to take her sister’s beau, and she says, “You know what trouble I’s talkin’ ’bout. Mr. Ashley be comin’ to Atlanta when he get’s his leave, and you sattin’ there waitin’ for him, just like a spider,” the way she says “JUST LIKE A SPIDER” gets me every time. When Prissy came back without a doctor during the Burning of Atlanta, and Miss Mellie was in labor, and Prissy screams in her squeal, “But Miss Scarlett! I ain’t never birthed no babies before!” Love it!. And how can you forget, “Oh, Ashley, ASHLEY!” And my all time favorite, with the sweeping sunset, and Scarlett’s silhouette holding a carrot, saying, “With God as my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!”

What can I say? I have a weakness. I love the movie. I watch it at least once a year, and I have the whole thing memorized. I’ve read the book more times than I can count. But again, it’s my mom’s fault. She got me hooked from an early age. She’s read the book around 11 times now. She made me watch the movie with her!

We’ll never know if Margaret Mitchell was truly a literary talent, or if GWTW was just a fluke, as she died not long after it was published and never wrote anything else. It was turned into a fantastic movie, shot entirely on set in 1939 (impressive, considering how many things burned and how many outdoor scenes there were.)

I made Bear watch the movie with me last year. I don’t think he’ll ever forgive me.

With all this in mind, I found a rewriting of the story, from Rhett Butler’s perspective, Rhett Butler’s People, by Donald McCaig. I’m sure it will be atrocious. Most modern retellings of stories are, especially if they’re mass-marketed. Unless they take a decidedly unique turn for a broad, classic genre, and are written by a truly talented author (Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian is a fantastic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But this is not comparable because Dracula inspired a wealth of vampire stuff, so it’s more of a new spin on a well-loved motif rather than a true retelling. Also, it was fantastic. Kostova is a fantastic author. Highly recommended). The sequel to Gone With The Wind, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley, was awful. Rhett and Scarlett got together at the end! Totally defeats the purpose of the book! IT’S A TRAGEDY, LIKE THE ENTIRE ANTEBELLUM AND DEATH OF THE DEEP SOUTH WAS. They couldn’t be together, just like the South couldn’t win! They also went to Ireland? It was weird. I didn’t approve.

However, despite knowing it will be atrocious (who thought of that name? What does that even mean?), I got it from the library anyways, for a few reasons.

1. It was free. From the library. No sweat off my bank account.

2. I have to read all things related to Gone With The Wind, due to the obsession.

3. I AM DONE WITH SCHOOL WORK SO I MIGHT AS WELL DESTROY MY BRAIN CELLS WITH ATROCIOUS POPULAR LITERATURE!

4. I think it will be entertaining, in terms of its atrociousness.

I might be proven wrong. I will keep you updated.

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