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A Prequel To Gone With The Wind Is Coming

I’ve never quite understood why readers would be interested in a sequel (or prequel) written by someone other than the original novel’s author.

Essentially, it’s glorified fan fiction. I could go out and write 300 pages of a novel called 1985 but how would I, or anyone, really know if George Orwell would bless such a sequel.

All that to tell you that an authorized prequel to Gone With The Wind will be released in October. The prequel, written by Donald McCaig, is called Ruth’s Journey. The story will focus on Mammy, who has been given the name “Ruth” by McCaig, and her journey from Haiti to Georgia.

McCaig has made a career out of the Gone With The Wind story. He wrote an authorized prequel called Rhett Butler’s People in 2007. The only other authorized prequel or sequel to Gone With The Wind was the much-pooped-upon Scarlett sequel, written by Alexandra Ripley, in 1991.

Atria Books, which is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish Ruth’s Journey. According to Peter Borland, editorial director at Atria Books:

 “What’s really remarkable about what Donald has done is that it’s a book that respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed,” Mr. Borland said.

I understand people will buy the book, and I understand the desire to read more about the story. But why can’t we just let the story rest? Margeret Mitchell published everything she felt led to publish about the Gone With the Wind story.

This is like painting a mullet on the Mona Lisa and calling it “art.” Okay, maybe that’s harsh. But it’s like taking that painting and adding something to it, like a second person or a cheesy Thomas Kincade lighted barn in the background.

Respect the art, man. Respect the art.

More on the sequel here. 

 

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. I never understood why my brothers read all those Star Wars books written by a handful of different people. Surely the characters don’t read the same if each one has a different author’s ‘voice’? At least this is only one book…

    Like

    March 31, 2014
    • I agree, but then I found out that the Nancy Drew series were written by many different authors all under the pen name “Carolyn Keene”, and I loved that series. As I read them when I was young I was naïve to the different “voices”?

      Like

      March 31, 2014
      • :O no way! I LOVED Nancy Drew when I was young! I did not know that. Wow… I need to go and read up about this!

        Like

        April 4, 2014
    • Not to put Star Wars on an exalted plane–fun as it was–but that “different voice” can by itself make a story worth retelling. Orestes was a different man to each of the great Greek tragedians.

      Like

      March 31, 2014
  2. Yes please thx

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  3. It’s like all those people who write back stories for Jane Austen novels, right? Or write about what happens after the novel, or before. I’ve read a few of these, and I’ll admit some of them have some talent. But, admittedly, it is mostly well-written fan fiction.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  4. Reblogged this on La regina nomade.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  5. There is a book called 1985 already, by Anthony Burgess. It’s quite well-regarded!

    Like

    March 31, 2014
    • Who knew? Apparently, many people other than me!

      Like

      April 1, 2014
  6. I’ve only read a couple of books like this, but both of them were terrible. One was a Jane Austen-inspired sequel (??) that took place about 150 years later, and the other was the “missing” book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. Really nasty of authors to piggyback off of others’ success like that!

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  7. I’m one of those people that likes the fan-fiction novels 😀 Some are better than others, and honestly I’ve come to appreciate modern adaptations of classics better than immediate sequels/prequels. But I also take them for what they are and just enjoy them and then forget them. But clearly there are good ones out there I mean you had to read Wide Sargasso Sea on this list 😀

    Like

    March 31, 2014
    • Yeah, Wide Sargasso Sea was okay. But it’s the exception rather than the rule. I’m just not a big fan.

      Like

      April 1, 2014
      • Haahaa! I know exactly what you mean. Maybe 1 out of every 10-15 of the Austen “sequels” I’ve read is worth recommending to someone.

        Like

        April 1, 2014
  8. I agree – indicates to me a serious lack of personal creativity — but who knows? Geoff W above mentioned Wide Sargasso Sea — which brings to mind Jean Rhys saying something incredible about writing – I’ve lost the quote, wish I could find it again, but it was something about every writer on the planet contributing to the ocean of creativity — that in the Big Picture, there are no individuals, just the Goddess of Creativity herself, emanating in a trillion ways (my language, not hers, don’t blame her!). This is the only way I can accept these prequel-sequel things written by others….that the collective mind is throwing it up in some mysterious way.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  9. A Prequel!! it’s kind of off!! In my opinion it is hummm thing but after reading it, one never knows, it could skyup from art to total art to… A second opinion might be formed. Although this kind of book will be far from my reach but i would say in general it depeneds on how much did the writer study the origion of the book, the movie and Margaret Mitchell.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  10. Agreed. Also I take issue with that Borland quote. Yes, there are “troubling aspects of the book”, but that is a preservation of the views at the time. It’s worthy of examination. We cannot go back and “correct” history. Only learn from it.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  11. I’m a huge fan of the original Star Trek. (Yes, I’m a total geek.) You see that sort of thing a lot. Authorized books within the Star Trek universe, even ones “written” by William Shatner, are completely hit or miss. Every one of them is just glorified fan fiction. However, every once in a while you stumble across one that actually feels genuine. Actually, my favorite doesn’t feel at all genuine, but it’s still fun, in a “this is a really dark, gritty take on Star Trek” way. It’s kind of like when people take, say, a Disney character and redraw it in their own style. Sometimes, you get a new thing that is cool in its own way, partially because you loved the original character.

    That taught me to approach “authorized” sequels and prequels and whatnot as exactly what they are: someone else wanting to contribute their own story. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s not. But if it ends up being really good, well, that just means I have more fun stuff to read. So now I take it on a book-by-book basis, treating it like any other novel I’m thinking of picking up: If the plot looks good, if the first couple of pages read well, then I’ll give it a try.

    Does it need a prequel? Probably not. Is it going to be good? Maybe, maybe not. But if it’s bad, then it’s just another poorly-written book. And if it’s good, well, then it’s just another good book that happens to expand on an existing well-loved story.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  12. It’s such a respected classic! I feel like anyone that writes a sequel/prequel to it after the original author is simply mooching off of the original work/ideas. While this man may be a good writer, I do agree with you. Leave well enough (or, in this case, a timeless classic) alone.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  13. “…provides a necessary correction…”

    So it’s a “message” book to “teach a lesson”? That doesn’t sound very promising, if it does give the publisher a marketing angle/audience.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  14. This reminds me of those who are truly plagiarizing: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” and “The Wind Done Gone”.

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  15. If you strike at the king, you must kill the king. Most people shouldn’t bother. Jon Clinch’s novel _Finn_, on the other hand…

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  16. I completely agree with you!

    Like

    March 31, 2014
  17. Reblogged this on Все новости моды.

    Like

    April 1, 2014
  18. 1985.

    [snort]

    Like

    April 1, 2014
  19. Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
    Good thoughts on the prequel to Gone with the Wind. Yes, it is good, with today’s values, to write a backstory for Mammy. That was something that Margaret Mitchell left out in the 1930’s that jumps out at us now. But, in doing that, the book becomes “not Margaret Mitchell” and we have to understand that, too.
    So does Gone with the Wind belong to the author or to the ages?
    Legally, it belongs to her estate and . . . they must need the money because they authorized the prequel.

    Like

    April 1, 2014
  20. Alert here: born-and-bred South Georgian, living maybe two hours from GWTW setting. I have my grandmother’s 1937 edition of Gone With The Wind put up in a safe place. I read GWTW only about 50 million times growing up and could quote great chunks of dialogue from it. Probably need to pick it up again and enjoy it all over again, as a passionate love story between the survivalist strong-willed Scarlett and Rhett, who understands her essence totally. Seems like I read (or started reading it before I realized it was hideous) the sequel, which was atrocious, and therefore blocked it from my memory. I wouldn’t expect any better from the prequel—you just can’t outdo the way Mitchell wrote and her character development.

    Like

    April 1, 2014
  21. Reblogged this on Mark Tuminello and commented:
    Wondering how a prequel to Gone With the Wind can be truly ‘authorized.’

    Like

    April 2, 2014

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