Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig

Posted April 20, 2010 by Lisa Mandina in / 0 Comments

I can pinpoint the teachers who led me to some of my quirky favorites in movies. First, my grandpa. No, he wasn’t ever a “teacher” per se, but I do feel that he taught me in many different ways, and shaped a lot of who I am. He was an engineer, and I know it is from him that I developed my interest in astronomy, and probably other science. But whever we visited my Grandpa and Grandma Moritz’s house, there was a big yellow book called Why a Duck with a cartoon picture of Groucho Marx’s head. It is from my Grandpa that I got my love of all things Marx Brothers. I can even remember him laughing at certain parts of the movies when we’d watch them at his house when we went into the air conditioning during the annual family garage sales.

Second is my 8th grade science teacher/principal. I went to a private school, and so the principal was also a teacher, Mr. Riedl. In fact, he was a science teacher, my current occupation. But I remember watching Court Jester, with Danny Kaye one day at school when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Again, I can remember him laughing loudly at the “Flaggon with the Dragon” part of the movie. From this I became a Danny Kaye fan.

Third was my freshman year, my Citizenship class teacher, Mr. Jarvis. In class he showed us the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy. I remember watching the beginning and thinking, wow, another boring school movie, but still being glad we were watching a movie instead of doing work. But if you’ve seen this movie, you know it is not a boring movie at all. It is a hilarious look at modern day technology, a coke bottle, and how it can corrupt very simple cultures in ways we can’t even imagine.

And the last teacher, leads into this book, my junior year American History teacher, Coach Durham. He showed us Gone With the Wind. I fell in love with it. I wanted to be Scarlett and have all the beaus after me. In a way, I have always felt like Scarlett, in that I never quite wanted what was right for me, and often didn’t realize the good thing until it was gone. Of course, the reader that I am had to go out and read the book. And then in the early 90’s a sequel called Scarlett was published. And I loved that too, even though the critics weren’t huge fans. It made me cry, and I felt so much for Scarlett and all the bad choices she made, again, relating to her in that way at least.

When Rhett Butler’s People came out in 2007, I ordered it from the book club I belonged to at the time. It has sat in my bookshelf of books to be read since that time. I couldn’t quite bring myself to pick it up. Not sure why, just couldn’t. But now, once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I fell right back in love the with the story. And I loved all the way we got to see into everyone’s thoughts in this story. I worried as it started that it would only go up to the time when Rhett got married to Scarlett. Needless to say it followed right on through the end of Gone With the Wind and past. Totally didn’t go with Scarlett, and while yes, I do love that story, I do like how this one ended a bit better. I cried, I smiled, I just loved this book. I can’t gush enough about how much I liked it. Again, not sure the critics were big fans of this one either, but I loved it. I think I need to get the movie out again and watch it. I loved seeing Rhett’s side of the story and his family, and Melanie Wilkes’s side, etc.
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