Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Book Review: The Authorized Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind

Ruth’s Journey: The Authorized Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind
Donald McCaig

I defy you to find a Southerner that isn’t familiar with Gone with the Wind, whether it is through reading the novel published by Margaret Mitchell or by watching the 1939 film extravaganza starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

One of the most beloved characters in the Gone with the Wind universe has always been Mammy, played by Hattie McDaniel, who went on to win a 1940 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. McDaniel had the distinction of being the first African American to be nominated and win in that category.

Mammy is shown as an adult in both the book and movie and very little detail is given about her life leading up to the events in Margaret Mitchell’s works. For those who have been interested in her origin story, they can finally rejoice. Ruth’s Journey by Donald McCaig paints a very thorough and entertaining portrait of Mammy a.k.a Ruth’s full life that she lead prior to being Scarlett’s companion and confidant on the Tara plantation. From being rescued during war time on the island of Saint Domingue to finally arriving on the iconic plantation, Tara, the story of Ruth’s life is riveting and keeps your attention throughout.

Any fan of the Gone with the Wind universe owes it to themselves to read this novel and fill in more pieces of the Ruth’s puzzle. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Pam Jessie
Woodlawn Library

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