When I was an early teenager, I remember my grandmother telling me about a summer (when she was my age) that she spent reading Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell’s first and last book ever written. The book had just come out in the early summer of 1936, and my grandmother was eager to get a copy of it into her hot little preteen hands. It took her all summer to get through (it’s about 1,400 pages–it’s a beast). I can still see her in my mind’s eye, speaking of old Margaret Mitchell, the book’s writer, as if she had been an old friend.
In honor of our being in Georgia, I decided to watch the movie on Netflix instant. It took me three nights to finish as it’s practically four hours long. Don’t get me wrong–I was interested: ridiculous behaviour, overacting, and scrumptious hoop skirt outfits–what’s not to love?
When I heard that Margaret Mitchell had actually written Gone with the Wind,–her life’s masterpiece–IN Atlanta and that you could actually visit the house in which she wrote the book, I plunked down my $13 admission fee in a hurry to check it out.
Here is my very honest review of the attraction:
When you first walk in to the Margaret Mitchell House, you’re greeted by a small little gift shop in which you have the opportunity to purchase any number of Gone with the Wind knick-knacks and/or reading material.
You’re then directed to a small exhibit toward the back of the building which houses a few artifacts including facsimiles of letters by Mitchell to her publisher as well as a clipboard that once belonged to her. Your tour guide tells you a little bit about her life, you look at a couple typewriters that weren’t actually hers, and then you’re directed into her actual apartment complete with sitting/living room, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen.
But here’s the thing: none of these things were ever owned by Margaret Mitchell herself; they’re just antiques from the 20s and 30s set to look like what historians think Mitchell’s apartment would have looked like. The only thing about the entire exhibit that Mitchell had ever come in contact with was the apartment itself and the one clipboard in the museum. Everything else–the furniture, the doo-dads, the fixtures, the floors–is just for show.
Needless to say, I was disappointed. I kept asking our tour guide if anything else was Mitchell’s. In the end, all she could do was shake her head dejectedly and admit that the library had gotten the rest of Mitchell’s things–her typewriter, the original manuscript, some of her personal belongings.
So, my thought is: why did I spend $13 to see practically nothing of Margaret Mitchell’s when I could have gone to the library to see her things for free?
Would we go back again? No. Our suggestion, drive by and know that Gone with the Wind was written in the bottom left apartment of the house, but save your $13 for something a little more comprehensive than one clipboard.
Margaret Mitchell photo courtesy of Zuma World