When I was 13 years old, I asked Santa to bring me a copy of Gone With the Wind. And when it duly arrived on December 25 I dived right in, finishing the entire book in little more than a day.
To say I loved it would be a massive understatement. So much so that many, many years later, it’s still tradition to re-read the epic novel every Christmas holidays, and occasionally to tackle Scarlett, although I CANNOT talk about the abomination that was the Joanne Whalley/Timothy Dalton mini series. Grrrrrrr.
While there are many scenes that resonate powerfully, even allowing for tweaks between the book and movie, my favourite has to be the ending. Was there ever a more heartbreaking question than “Where shall I go? What shall I do?”.
It made me want to know more about the woman who could create such a paradoxical and captivating character as Scarlett O’Hara. So I set about digging up some random facts on Margaret Mitchell. Here’s a few I learned . . .
* Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 8, 1900
* Middle name was Munnerlyn
* Was originally going to call her leading lady Pansy O’Hara
* Won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for the novel
* Never finished college as she had to take over the family household when her mother died
* Once worked as a journalist – for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine
* Wrote the last chapter of GWTW first and worked from there
* Died on August 16, 1949, after being struck five days earlier by a speeding car as she crossed Peachtree St
And one final bit of trivia. Rhett’s famous last line as uttered by Clark Gable doesn’t actually appear in the book. It says “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. The word “frankly” was only added on the big screen in what was an emotional stroke of genius.