Review: 'The Wind Done Gone'

ByABC News
July 10, 2001, 1:48 PM

July 10 -- The Old South won't rise again, but Scarlett O'Hara will be forever swishing her hoop skirts in pop culture's collective memory.

Holding court for enamored swains on the steps of Tara. Melting as Rhett Butler sweeps her into his arms and up the stairs. Screaming to the heavens, "As God as my witness, I'll never go hungry again!" Steeling herself to overcome the next obstacle with her mantra: "Tomorrow is another day."

Well, tomorrow is here, but Scarlett's been left behind. In The Wind Done Gone (Houghton Mifflin), author Alice Randall takes a look at an alternate universe, Tara one where the slaves have their say.

The controllers of Margaret Mitchell's estate tried to block publication of this parody, claiming it was an unauthorized sequel. They might have spared themselves the trouble. The characters in Randall's book bear only the flimsiest of resemblances to Mitchell's creations.

A Spineless Scarlett, A Wishy-Washy Rhett

The heroine is Cynara, also called Cinnamon or Cindy, whom Randall has invented as the mixed-race half sister of Scarlett. Scarlett herself is known as "Other," and she's been reduced to a shadowy sad sack who boo-hoos because Rhett has left her and then enters a decline when Mammy dies.

Rhett, known here as "R.," has been keeping Cynara as his mistress, and he wants to marry her. If it seems unlikely that Rhett, who tells Scarlett he's not a marrying man but decides he finally has to catch her between husbands, would clamor to marry a woman who's not considered to be of his class, that's because he's not Rhett. R. has lost all Captain Butler's sardonic wit, his swash and his buckle.

The other great love of Scarlett's life, Ashley Wilkes, here becomes "Dreamy Gentleman." And he's gay, which does explain why he's the one man Scarlett can't ensnare. Melanie is "Mealy Mouth." Belle Watling, the madam, has become Beauty, and she's a lesbian. Gerald O'Hara is known only as "Planter" to Cynara, whose mother is Scarlett's nanny, Mammy.