Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rhett Butler's People

You know when you hear about a sequel to a favorite book or with a favorite set of characters, but it's not written by the original author, but you just can't stand it, so you read the new book anyway?
Well, that's what I did. I read Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig.
It's a very long book (or maybe it just seemed that way) and I kept going for the same reasons it's so hard to look away from an accident. You may be disgusted and appalled, but you want to know what happened.
I understand Mr. McCaig wrote at least one other award winning book on the civil war. I also noted that this sequel was authorized by Margaret Mitchell's estate (though, I don't believe she had children, so these wouldn't be very close relatives anyway, so why it's so important the "estate" approved anything is really a moot point).
The whole idea of the book is to "fill in" Rhett Butler's past and goes on to tell the story of what happened AFTER Gone With The Wind left off. All I can say is he doesn't know southern women very well if he thinks that:
1) Melony Wilkes would have never uttered a single word of doubt about her husband to a woman she barely knew and if she HAD said something, she would never, ever in a million years written it down for ANYONE else to ever ever read. No way. No how.
2)Scarlett O'Hara would never become so kind and sweet that she would say stupid things like "I feel like a maiden again". Did he think she was listening to old Madonna records?
3) No Atlanta matron of any "class" at all would have attended a funeral and/or a wake for Belle Whattling and they certainly would have died before they set foot in her place. For that matter Scarlett might have invited Belle to her party if she thought it would get her what she wanted, but she would never have had her spend the night at Tara.
4) The civil war did not end at a Barbecue on the 4th of July at Tara while southerners and yankees celebrated with food, music and fireworks. I admit that I have not been back to Atlanta for a few years, but there are parts of Georgia where the war will be fought forever. Make no mistake about that!
5) After Rhett's brother in law dies, the characters keep saying "the klan is gone from here now". Is he kidding? I lived in Atlanta in the 80's and there was still the occasional cross burning on Stone Mountain.
6) Ashley might have rebuilt the garden at Twelve Oaks as a memorial to Melonie, but, ahhhh, hello? He would have sooner or later had to build some kind of decent house to raise his son up in..... I mean I can understand Scarlett taking care of the boy for a little while until
Ashley had time to grieve, but for crying out loud don't you think a dad would want his boy back? Especially a romantic like Ashley?
7) I do not believe that any well raised woman north or south in that era would smile as her precious daughter was whisked around the dance floor by the illegitimate son of a hooker. Call me wacky, but I don't see that happening.
8) I do not think even a Bishop could sneak a well known madame into a Catholic cemetery. Even if he said it was o.k. it would NOT be o.k. with a lot of other people and you couldn't hide her grave, so, ahhh no. That wouldn't be likely.
Maybe I am just being picky, but I really didn't believe this book. Even the somewhat far fetched Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley was a better read then this.
You will not find this book on my Amazon widget and you will not find it on my bookshelf anymore either. Let's face it...Margaret Mitchell is dead and there really won't be another book like Gone With The Wind. We have to move on people....we really do.


Nancy said...

It sounds like that would have been a very hard book to stick with. Thanks for the heads up,
I sure won't read it.

Mary said...


I started to read Scarlett but never did finish it. This one doesn't appeal to me either. I agree that Margaret Mitchell is dead. There will never be another Gone With the Wind.

Thanks for the review.


Mister Bone Dimmsdale said...

My goodness gracious Mum,
If you write with such vigorous detail about my books, then I hope I don't seem unappealing!
Love you Mum!

Pat said...

Thanks for this review! I'll be sure not to read the book. I loved "Gone With The Wind" and knock offs probably just can't capture the charm of the original.

Susie Q said...

I will be sure to steer away from this! My sis in law is a HUGE GWTW fan and was upset about Scarlett! She mentioned she might try to read this one but I will tell her about your review! Your points are wonderful!