Which author’s writing surprised you when you first read their work and what about it grabs you?
Today’s question is brought to us by our wonderful Serena at Savvy Wit & Verse. Great question, Serena! As I did last week, I’m going with the first answer that came to mind ~ Margaret Mitchell.
Although I had seen images of the movie version of Gone With the Wind long before I read the novel, I never saw the movie and did not know much about the story. Still, I had seen the pictures of Vivian Lee as Scarlett. I don’t have to tell anyone what a stunningly beautiful woman she was. Is there anyone alive who doesn’t automatically think Vivian Lee when they think Scarlett? I didn’t think so.
So, when I read the first line of the novel, it grabbed me right away:
Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
What? She’s not beautiful? That was a surprise. Hollywood would never have casted an unattractive woman as Scarlett. Perhaps their reasoning were somewhat different, but they, as are we, are no different than the Tarleton twins. We’ve all really been caught up in her charms. We can’t imagine her any other way. From that first short line, I was hooked by Scarlett through the writing of Margaret Mitchell.
That was almost 25 years ago. To this day, Scarlett is my favorite fictional character. Rhett and Melanie are not that far behind. I have read the book five or six times since my first reading. I’ve watched all or parts of the movie countless times. Neither ever get old for me. One might think that such a huge tome and a movie with a built in intermission would be a once in a lifetime type of adventure. Not so for me. Not only have I read the book several times all the way through, I own probably more copies than that. I have more than what is pictured below, but those were the ones I had readily on hand for my spur of the moment picture.
The small paperback version is the first copy I owned and the only copy other than the one fro the library that I’ve ever read. I preserved the cover after my second reading by covering it with an adhesive platic covering. The hard cover is a 1964 copy. It’s cover is torn and not in great shape, but I had to pick it up when I saw it at a yard sale. The large paperback version has recently come out and I couldn’t not pick it up. I’ve also included my copy of Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell, Darden Asbury Pyron’s biography of Margaret Mitchell. I rarely read biographies, but I couldn’t help but make a point to read more about her. Her novel has shaped my views of both heroines and villains more than any other author.
I will be reading Gone With the Wind again next month along with Matt from A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook. Why don’t you join us?