2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
Something fun to share for sports fans…
As readers of this column know, my two great loves besides Rob Rains are baseball and Gone With The Wind. I was able to combine them with the foreword of my book, The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind, when I got the great Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Harwell to do it. Harwell knew Gone With The Wind author, Margaret Mitchell.
Today my husband Rob received an email from a reader of the Globe-Democrat.com, the online newspaper for which he is the Sports Editor. The reader had just finished reading Rob’s new book, The Curse; Cubs Win! Cubs Win!…Or Do They? and could not wait to tell Rob how much he liked it. As an author, it is very gratifying when someone writes and tells you they liked your book. It is most satisfying when it is unsolicited. The note was so nice I asked Rob to contact the person and ask if it was ok if I re-print it. I had already read the book as Rob and Andy were working on it, but I read it again last week just to be sure it was as good as I thought it was. (It is.)
The actor, Tom Arnold, who is a friend of ours also read it and he liked it so much he wrote a little blurb at the front of the book.
Andy Van Slyke, the former major leaguer lives in St. Louis and he and Rob have been long-time friends since the days Rob covered Andy when he played for the Cardinals. Andy had a great idea for a book and came to Rob. They had a lot of fun working on it, and now we are all happy to say it’s hot off the presses. The book–which is Rob’s first novel, after 29 books– is a quick read and I could not put it down…but don’t take my word for it. Here’s the review…
I have to say, what I thought was going to be just another book about baseball —this one the “The Curse; Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Or Do They” turned out to be a suspenseful novel that I could just not put down.
The way you mixed reality and fiction kept me reading page after page ! I must admit at one point I was far more interested in the side bar stories of the drama. ” The investigation” “Kevin and Nikkie” “Billy” etc. that I completely lost track of the baseball. Though you kept those short and constantly came right back to the game. Mixed very well. This would actually make a great movie for TV.
I was given an insight into the thoughts and mind process of a beat writer, management and team relationships. The camaraderie between players and how those relationships are built. Only a writer and or player on the inside of baseball would know these things. And I thought beat writers had it easy, what a lesson I learned.
Taking a tragedy as you did and building a story around it made for great reading ! The way you incorporated the actual reality of the game and the “Curse” itself with the fiction has to attract any baseball fan not just a Cubs fan. All too fitting that the championship game would be against the Cards and the World Series with the Yankees.
It was only too perfect to have Slagle bring in the winning run. He had made a statement at one point that “Life can be stranger than fiction” how true that is and fitting for this book. I did not know so many of the history lessons that Slagle brought to the team, but he brought far more than that. He alone helped build the camaraderie with the team, and took alot of pressure off of Mike (the manager). Interesting that there really was a Slagle that played for the Cubs way back in the early part of the century. Again more of the reality you mixed with fiction. At one point I even thought you might be talking about McGwire though he never played in Japan, Though you hit on about most every topic of the game. there was nothing left out. From players, management, fan base, Media coverage, expansion. Building a team gave such insight in to the behind the scenes of management and players alone.
There was one thing ONLY a New Yorker would pick up on. When Slagle was on the bus in NY going to the park, they saw a man walking a goat. Hence he brought up the Billy Goat Curse history lesson to the team. Now they saw the goat on 2nd St. and any New Yorker would tell you, that’s not possible it had to be Second AVE.; Second St. is not on the way to the park. But that a NY thing.. I just had to throw that in 🙂
Now even though I cheated and read the last page and THOUGHT I knew the outcome. I was totally wrong till I actually read the last chapter. What a great twist. TJ who was being taken over by greed, power, and fame. He was becoming more like his dad, the person he never had a relationship with. Only to come to the decision of whether or not to do the right thing in the end ! How great that was.
You had a mix of baseball, murder, suspense, and relationships, that made for excellent reading. The way you brought in the relationships with the players, there fans, fathers and there sons, brought back so many memories to me, when my dad took me to the 67 and 68 World Series. I am one of those fans like Kevin’s uncle. One that would just sit at spring training watching the practice, while a writer would use that time to get more side bar stories done.
I loved the book, and I am not much of a reader, but this book kept me intrigued enough to continue reading till I was done and knew the final outcome.
I will most definitely recommend this as a must-read to all my family and friends that are baseball fans.. Not just another baseball book !
Best wishes and success to you and Andy
The book is on sale on Amazon.com and will be in the bookstores in July. For those who live in the Chicago area, the night of the All-Star Game, we will be at an event at Harry Caray’s Restaurant that is open to the public. Watch the All-Star Game and meet Rob and Andy, and get the book if you want. Please pass this on to any sports fan you may know. I’d like to thank John W. for his wonderful review.
Sally Tippett Rains is the author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com). June 18, 2010