I don’’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ by John Berendt. The tour guides mentioned it when I visited the marvelous City of Savannah on my trip to Georgia several years ago, and I put it on my list, but you know how it is.
I grabbed a copy at the library book sale in Conway (Mass) this tear, and it really is a delightful book. Savannah is a wonderful city, and this book is a really great read, especially if you like society gossip, voodoo, criminal justice, forensic testing, drag queens, movie tourism, and, my favorite, historic preservation.
John Berendt, a New York magazine editor, combines all these elements masterfully in his account of his time in Savannah, and adds an element of suspense with the story of Jim Williams, the fabulously wealthy preservationist who was tried three times for murder.
Williams’ story is entwined with those of a host of quirky and endearing characters, one of whom is the city itself.
As we follow these characters through the intricacies of Savannah society including the Oglethorpe Club, the Married Woman’s Card Club, and the Black Debutante Ball, we learn how the stately mansions of the city escaped the wrecking ball when the city’s economy declined, and to me, that’s the most moving story of all.
James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founder, laid out the city in squares surrounded by live oaks and spanish moss, which make the city charming and unique. These squares have been seen in the filming of ‘Glory’, ‘Roots’, and the famous bus stop in ‘Forrest Gump’.
And, of course, in the filming of ‘Midnight in Garden of Good and Evil’ which I can’t wait to see.
The cab driver who took me to the airport said he’d been an extra in five movies, including the one Miley Cyrus made on nearby Tybee island.