Reading a parody or a commentary about a piece of work prior to reading the work itself presents a disadvantage: once you get around to the actual work, your views would have been colored, influenced by the impressions you got from the parody. I never read Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and I really have no intention to. I couldn’t even sit through the film whenever it would air on Turner Classic Movies. (I read through reviews and the Wikipedia entry though.) But having read Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone, I know that should I find the time to read or watch Gone with the Wind, I would be looking for the clues, decipher the secrets revealed in The Wind Done Gone.
Top 3 Things I Can Say About this Book:
1. Oddly enough, it’s a triumphant story. Early in her life, Cynnara defined herself against her sister Other (whom we can surmise to be Scarlett in GWTW). In fact, Cynarra was the real “other.” Few even knew her real name. Later on, when she decides to leave her life of married respectability with R(hett) to become mistress to a black congressman, she tells R her name, thereby discovering and asserting her identity.
2. The language is uneven and it should be. There are times when she speaks in the language of illiterate slaves: “fo sho,” “aint got nobody.” Then she shifts to more studied or eloquent wording. The language is.in between worlds, just like the narrator.
3. It is subversive. It renames and redefines characters in GWTW, picking at the truth beneath the surface: the unattainable Dreamy Gentleman who actually loved a black boy, the delicate white Southern Lady who actually had Negro blood. The story, retold from a new perspective, breaks down and reconstructs our notions of what the original work is all about.
Final Verdict: It’s a parody in the broadest sense of the word - it comments on GWTW - and it enriches it by giving us a new perspective by which to view, not just Scarlett’s life, but the notion of the American South.