I finally started reading it. The story so far…

It’s narrated by a boy named Henry Randolph Porcher. At the beginning of the story he’s 10, but where I am now, he’s 15. We jumped a few years. I’m assuming it’s going to jump ahead again at some point. It’s set in the south, near Charleston. And early in the 20th C. Where I am now there’s a comment about “you know there’s a war in Europe” and I’m assuming that’s WWI. Earlier, they were still using carriages & cars sounded like “newfangled” items.

Anyhoo– in the beginning Henry has “run away” from home & meets Ilsa Brandes & her father. He spends the day with them because he’s in trouble and he doesn’t want to go home. When they do take him home, they discover the town is on fire & Henry’s house ends up burning down. Henry & family end up living in a hotel somewhere else for 5 years until his mother croaks (literally, think cough, cough, thud) at the ripe old age of 37. Ancient, I tell you! Henry’s family is of the rich, old, inbred sort. They hate Ilsa & her father, because he was in love with one of the clan (Elizabeth), but they wouldn’t let him marry Elizabeth, because he was poor white trash, apparently, so he ran off to Europe and married Ilsa’s mother (who then promptly died in childbirth). Meanwhile, Elizabeth was >gasp< pregnant. Elizabeth is dead, dunno what happened to the baby yet.

So when Henry’s mother dies, they move back to their house, which has been rebuilt so it’s exactly the same as the old one. While they were gone, Ilsa’s father also conveniently died (no cough cough, he died of a mysterious fever), so she’s had to move in with Cousin Anna, who is I think, the only relative Henry likes. Henry’s cousin Monty has his sights set on Ilsa much to the chagrin of Henry’s sister Silver. Henry hates Monty so he’s pissed off on several levels because of course he likes Ilsa.

Well that’s about it so far. Possible controversial bits:

In the opening part, Ilsa & Henry go swimming… without bathing suits (she’s 13, he’s 10).

A lot of oblivious racism w/ regard to how the black characters are portrayed. So far there’s been a chain gang, a bunch of crazy people running away from the fire, and a lot of servants, who all talk with “Gone With the Wind” type phrasing.