Before Scarlett: girlhood writings of Margaret Mitchell
On a sultry summer morning, Jane Eskridge and Wailes Thomas, a relative of Margaret Mitchell's, are knee-deep in over sixty years worth of accumulated detritus in the Atlanta home Thomas had inherited from his mother; and they made a discovery: 200 pages of short stories, fairy tales, journal entries, essays, and one-act plays by Margaret Mitchell, penned from ages eight through seventeen. Since her early death at age 49 (hit by a car while crossing the street), all of Mitchell's personal papers and other writings are thought to have been destroyed. Then, several years ago, a lone novella, Lost Laysen, was discovered and published. Now, with this discovery, the picture is complete, one of a prodigious and moving talent from a very young age by the precocious and sometimes tomboyish author the world would come to love. Through charmed, simply titled pieces -- such as "The Green Snake" (a fairy tale), "Silver Match Box' (a spy story), and "Big Bob of the Sierras" (a western) as well as a tellingCivil War story -- we get a rare glimpse into the soul of a brilliant young talent, one impossible not to fall in love with. Photographs from Mitchell's childhood bring the collection to life and a compelling preface by Mary Rose Taylor places the stories in the context of her broader career as a writer and world celebrity.