Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rhett Butler's People

Don't you adore the dramatic ending of GWTW.... but isn't it just ripe for a sequel?!

GWTW fans can't help but imagine what the author would have written in a followup. Margaret Mitchell refused to offer any clues about events that might happen after the ending of GWTW. Of course, I always imagine Scarlett getting her man.

To appease the public's hunger for more (and increase the coffers, no doubt), the Margaret Mitchell estate authorized two sequels: Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley and Rhett Butler's People (RBP)by Donald McCaig.

Rhett is such an intriguing man. In RBP, readers learn about events from Rhett's youth that form his adult character. Rhett's sensitivity and emphathy for the slaves and poor whites keeps him completely out of sync with the cruel world around him... especially with his harsh authoritarian father. The scenes between Rhett and Master Butler just broke my heart. Wish I could report Master Butler to social services! Overall, it was completely satisfying to meet and learn more about Rhett's family and friends especially the notorious Belle Watling.

Here are my observations of the two books but keep in mind that it has been at least three years since my last reading of Scarlett and I've only read it a couple of times

Even though McCaig took minor liberties with the storyline of GWTW, RBP is a great read; realistic and much closer in caliber to GWTW. Scarlett, on the other hand, is a fun exciting read but very far-fetched. Poor Scarlett's outlandish adventures almost make her seem like the Forest Gump of the post Civil War era.

Rhett Butler's People opens during Rhett's childhood, many years before GWTW begins and closes several years after GWTW ends. Scarlett begins immediately after GWTW ends. Since both sequels were authorized, I expected the storyline of RBP to intersect that of Scarlett at some point. It didn't! McCaig completely disregarded any events that happened in Scarlett.

I've read that the Margaret Mitchell estate was embarrassed by the book Scarlett. Could that be why?

So, two disparate sequels and two alternate endings. In both, Scarlett matures, becoming, if not completely compassionate, at least more considerate and less selfish. In both, Scarlett gets her man... and that is not a spoiler, folks, you know Scarlett is always gonna get her man.

So which is my favorite ending... okay, I'll confess... I prefer the ending of Rhett Butler's People.


  1. Oh, I just thought Scarlett was the most wonderful thing! And remember the sense of accomplishment at reading such a huge book? I might just have to pay Rhett a visit.

  2. Oh yes, Scarlett! Being an egocentric teen, I could really relate. How embarrassing that I found her a character worth emulating! Not her good qualities of bravery and will to survive and protect Tara/family. Nope, it was her vivacious, spoiled rotten, party-loving ways that attracted me.

    I do remember the sense of accomplishment. I did skim past much of the historical details at the time. When I reread it as an adult, it was like a whole new story! So rich with detail and of course, so much was omitted from the movie. Have you read it as an adult? If you haven't, you might want to reread it before paying Rhett a visit.


Welcome to the yakkity yak box, Book Lovers! Your comments are greatly appreciated so please feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

Comments/questions will receive a response here and visits will be returned as time allows. We are a chatty bunch but also busy with work/school/family so apologies in advance for any delays.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...