” ‘Parting can be such sweet sorrow or such putrid disappointment,’ critic Ron Charles wrote in a recent essay about the many reasons some book endings leave us cold.
“Hundreds of readers flocked to the comments section to air their personal grievances about the endings that still haunt them….
” ‘Cold Mountain’ by Charles Frazier was a popular choice. But [only one] commenter was industrious enough to rectify the alleged problem: ‘I was so angry that I rewrote the author’s ending. It only took one sentence . . . “Cold Mountain” went from being a book that I would have despised for the rest of my life to become one of my favorites, simply by changing that one sentence.’ ”
— From “Readers share the book endings that infuriated them the most” by Stephanie Merry in the Washington Post (Oct. 24)
You won’t be surprised that at least one critic vehemently begs to differ.
It’s been a while since I last dumped a batch of North Caroliniana into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, that instantaneous measure of phrase frequency over the decades.
Caveat e-lector: This is data at its rawest — conclusions should be jumped to for entertainment purposes only.
— Duke lacrosse vs. Duke football and Duke basketball
— Grandfather Mountain vs. Cold Mountain
— Oprah Winfrey vs. Michael Jordan and Colin Powell
— Charlotte North Carolina vs. Raleigh North Carolina
— Southern fried chicken vs. Buffalo wings and Chicken McNuggets
” ‘Cold Mountain’ can best be understood as a feminist antiwar film that turns almost every Lost Cause convention on its head. In the process, it distorts history at least as much as ‘Gods and Generals’… a film celebratory of Confederates at war….
“Virtually all white southern women in ‘Cold Mountain’ are either indifferent or deeply opposed to the war. This interpretation fits a modern sensibility, especially prevalent in academia…. Melanie Wilkes [Scarlett O’Hara’s sister-in-law] and her ilk would find few compatriots among their North Carolina sisters on Cold Mountain….
“But the large majority of white southern women — especially slaveholding women like Ada Monroe — resolutely supported the Confederate nation until very late in the conflict.”
— From “Causes Won, Lost and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War” (2008) by Gary W. Gallagher