Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So-called fine Southern ladies and gentlemen.

So my Kindle is causing me to read faster and read an assortment of things that I usually would be afraid to undertake. I think, since I bought it, I have read the thoroughly satisfying HUNGER GAMES trilogy, then the latest TALES OF THE CITY book MARY ANN IN AUTUMN got my attention, then I worked my way through some of WRITING DOWN THE BONES, then I read all of THE HELP in a rather rapid clip, then I thought I might do a classic of some sort. Since that new JANE EYRE movie is coming out, I thought I would finally finish that book - which is always really good when I start it, then it takes a turn for the dark and righteous that I find off-putting.

So then a new friend of mine started talking to me about GONE WITH THE WIND, which I didn't read in high school because most of the girls in Honors English were obsessed with it (and my senior English teacher once got in an argument with all of them about it and memorably called Scarlett O'Hara a bitch, which caused some of the Christian girls to gasp).

The last time I was tempted to consider reading GONE WITH THE WIND was, of course, when I was taking those great writing classes at the Margaret Mitchell House here in Atlanta, which is the "dump" apartment building where Peggy Mitchell first wrote the book. She hated that apartment, but it's where she wrote the book. So the city renovated it, turned it into a museum for both the book and the movie and restored Mitchell's original apartment to its decent, modest, cozy glory.

Walking through the tour of that building and taking a class in the same room where they house the door to Tara from the movie, which I watched at least a dozen times as a kid, it was tempting to pick up the Pulitzer Prize winner, but something kept me from ever doing it. Maybe because the book is damn long, amusingly melodramatic and occasionally bald-faced racist and politically backward in its depiction of loyal, happy slaves and the glorious Old South.

As a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society at UGA 14 years ago, I occasionally got an ear full of anti-Lincoln rhetoric and pro-secession politics. I didn't know that I wanted to dredge up those feelings of "Are some people still feeling this bad about the War Between the States?" dread.

But leave it to a friend shaming me, saying that it was strange of me to dare visit the Margaret Mitchell House without reading the great book, to get me to see if it was available on Kindle when Stephen King's IT couldn't grab my attention for very long.

So now I'm reading Scarlett pine for Ashley while Mammy yells at her. And I'm writing my notes on it as I go. And thus far it's a lot of fun in an antiquated, infuriating, really well-written, funny way.

I guess it was the world's second most popular book for a reason. I think I'm going to stick with it, even though all the historical markers around Atlanta pretty much tell me how it ends for the Confederacy.

1 comment:

Dena B. said...

did you ever finish it??????