Great balls of fire! This here’s a good book! How’s that for a blunt beginning?
If you like Gone with the Wind, then chances are you’ll like this book too. For me, it finished the agonizing story—whereas the first book ended with the most dramatic scene, but left me wanting more. This is the MORE.
Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig tells the story of Rhett from when he was a 12 year old boy on up into adulthood. This book is actually authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate and parallels Gone with the Wind in spots. Since Rhett’s my favorite character, I naturally ate this story up, loving how his bigger than life character was fleshed out even more. I absolutely crave character development…as much as an author will give me…and this one gave me lots.
By the way, my favorite Gone with the Wind quote from Rhett is when he tells Scarlett: “No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” Ha! I love his arrogant confidence. You get more of it in this book.
I will warn you that this book, just like its predecessor, is long and filled with lots of detail…but I liked that. I didn’t find it boring at all. It helped me envision the deep South before and during the Civil War even better than Gone with the Wind. There are lots of new characters in this book—people who have influenced and shaped Rhett’s life: Langston Butler, his unyielding father, Rosemary, the sister he adores, Tunis Bonneau, his negro best friend, and Belle Watling, the woman he cared for long before Scarlett.
I don’t want to give anything away—Rhett might give me a “good lashing with a buggy whip [to] benefit [me] immensely”–so MUM’s the word. But I will say that I thought this book stayed true to the original characters—not changing them from who they are in Gone with the Wind, but rather explaining why they are the way they are.
For instance, I’ve never understood Scarlett and quite despised her for how she treated Rhett. In this book, even though she’s still the same, I got deeper into her character and finally connected…and came away liking her despite her snotty pride. Yes, I like Scarlett…and I LOVE Rhett! And I finally understand why he put up with the woman for so long.
Scarlett: Sir, you are no gentleman.
Rhett: And you, Miss, are no lady.
You tell her, Rhett! Frankly, my dear, if you give a dam, you should read this book…because “tomorrow is another day!” Fiddledee-dee.