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Before Scarlett: Girlhood Writings of Margaret Mitchell

Mitchell, Margaret Author

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Discovered one sultry summer in an Atlanta basement full of sixty years' worth of accumulated debris, the writing of a young Margaret Mitchell reveals a prodigious and inspirational talent for such a young girl. The writer, who would later pen the bestselling book of all time after the Bible (and one that still sells over 200,000 copies every year around the world), was a precocious, imaginative, headstrong, female rebel who was, despite her disposition, as distracted by everyday concerns about parental approval and social insecurities as any child. Nevertheless, as shown in the pages of I Want to Be Famous, Margaret Mitchell was amazingly talented and displayed this through her writing of letters, journals, short stories, and one-act plays (later staged in her midtown Atlanta home). From westerns and shipwreck tales to stories of scalawags and musings on her best friends and boys, Mitchell demonstrated a finesse for challenging authority and striking out on her own-personality traits not surprising for the society debutante who was later rejected by the Junior League of Atlanta because of a racy dance she performed at one of their "balls," and an author who would later cope with the pressures of international fame measured against her personal mission as a major philanthropist for African American causes in racially divided Atlanta. Mitchell's is a story of youthful independence and talent; the real story of "girl power" long before its modern-day popularization. Fully illustrated and including 28 recently discovered writings, this collection is perfect for any young or teenage girl who aspires to be a writer.

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These journal entries and fiction pieces paint a picture of a precocious, imaginative young girl growing up in early twentieth century Atlanta, a member of a family that was considered part of the city's 'old guard'. The Mitchell family lived in a sprawling, two-story Victorian home with a deep, cool porch where Margaret liked to sit and read. When she was 12, Margaret's family moved to a Colonial Revival-style mansion situated on a fashionable stretch of Peachtree Street. The budding writer made fast friends with a tight-knit group of boys and girls in her new neighbourhood and school, and many of her writings were about the exploits of her gang. Later, at the Washington Seminary, school for girls, Mitchell was president of the literary society, literary editor of the yearbook, and acted in several drama club productions. 'It's really amazing, the way Margaret could write without making corrections, even at such a young age.' says Eskridge. 'She was just a wonderful storyteller, and this collection fleshes in parts of her life that nobody has ever had access to before. I think it will inspire many people to go back and read 'G one With the Wind', and learn more about Mitchell as a person. I especially hope young adults enjoy the book, too and draw inspiration from Margaret's early frustrations vis-a-vis the ultimate success she enjoyed. Hopefully, this collection will inspire the next Margaret Mitchell.'<

From the Inside Flap:

The first scribblings from the author of Gone with the Wind, highlighting her natural talent and curiosity

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