Midnight in the Garden of Money
As an author, I was interested by the effect that the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt, has had on the town of Savannah, Georgia. The estimates are that the book and the movie (directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Kevin Spacey) has increased tourist revenue by over 40%. The statute in Bonaventure Cemetery (The Garden of Good and Evil) that formed the cover of the book has since been moved to the city museum. Tour guides point out the places where the author ate, lived and partied. The house where the murder took place (home of Johnny Mercer) is a major stop on every tour.
I found the city to be quite enchanting with a rich history going back to the Revolutionary War. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my great-great grandfather encamped here after marching from Atlanta with General Sherman and 60,000 other Union soldiers. Frankly, I was a little put off by the attention given to the book, as if it were the city’s main claim to fame. Perhaps it’s authorial envy, but really, Savannah, get over it. You got a lot more interesting things to brag about than this book.
The first picture is the Bonaventure Cemetery, now missing the statute. The second is the Johnny Mercer house. In the window with the lamp is where the murder took place.
We pulled in there unscheduled one evening when I was in the Navy. Didn’t get a chance to make it off the waterfront and see anything. This was in ’86, and if I recall, they were just beginning to raise money to restore the waterfront. Have heard it is one of the most beautiful cities in the South.