I finished reading The Wind Done Gone yesterday, "The Unauthorized Parody" of Gone With The Wind. First grievance: this was hardly a parody ("A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.") I'm not sure if that label was some sort of concession to Mitchell's estate which enabled the book's publication or what, but I would not call it parody. It wasn't even a retelling of the same story as much as picking up where the original left off and provided an alternative view of some previous events.
Gone With The Wind is one of my favorite books ever, I even wrote my senior paper (a requirement to graduate from my high school, everyone had to write a 10 page paper on a topic of his/her choosing) on, "Scarlett O'Hara, A Study of Independence," analyzing the character of Scarlett as the anti Southern belle she appeared to be. (A working title for the paper I'm all the sudden recalling was "Rebelle." Ugh.) I was always impressed with Scarlett because she followed her gut, did not conform to the role that was dictated for Southern women, chose to run her own business, and "unsexed herself" by being "good with figures" (she could add!).
Needless to say, I knew I'd be difficult reader to impress simply because, well because. Because I'm difficult and not a huge fan of modern fiction. I loved the concept of revisiting Mitchell's antebellum depiction of the South and making it more realistic, I loved the idea of Scarlett having a half-sister, it was one of those books that in theory should have been great. But it wasn't. Somehow it fell flat for me. Partially it was just the style (it was a journal), partially it was the voice. The writer was just too aware of the story she was telling, as if she knew as much as we do about the failures of Reconstruction and about the events leading up to the Civil Rights movement. It was fun to spot the references to events in the original, but that was about the most pleasure I got out of reading The Wind Done Gone.