Scarlett Rules: When Life Gives You Green Velvet Curtains, Make a Green Velvet Dress


Advice books don’t really seem to have been Scarlett O’Hara’s thing. She never was all that good at taking advice, and she seldom deigned to give any either. Scarlett had better things to do, like saving Tara. Nonetheless, this is an advice book of twenty-four rules, inspired by Scarlett (“Rule 1: Pretty Is as Pretty Does”). Each rule begins with a section on Scarlett herself, then there’s some related advice, and finally there’s a “Scarlett Lesson” consisting of tips, usually from an expert in a field – a former bond broker, for example.

                Despite the book’s lighthearted title, the advice has a decidedly earnest tone about it, and it’s pretty much what one finds in any women’s magazine: being yourself, taking risks, accepting trade-offs. Some of it seems a little strained when Scarlett is concerned: for instance, Bertagnoli says that Scarlett would have been a lot better off if she’d had more female friends. Well, maybe, but would Scarlett have been Scarlett if she had gone running off to her book club buddies for sympathy and advice every time she had a crisis?

                Readers who enjoy advice or self-help books will probably like this one, while readers who aren’t partial to them will at least have a good excuse to dip back into Gone with the Wind, since Bertagnoli knows it backward and forward and revives memories of long-forgotten scenes.

                Perhaps the most intriguing part of this book is the all-too-short afterword, where Bertagnoli suggests that women look for role models in literature as well as in real life. Anne Elliot, anyone?

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(US) 9780812975314