Title: Gone With The Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Publication Date: September 1, 1936
Source: personal purchase
Summary from Goodreads:
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.
HOW to review a novel as vast, as famous, as this one??
This book has been on my TBR pile for a long, long time. I operate on the principle that if there is a well-known movie based on a book, I must try to read the book first. Such is the case with Gone With The Wind. Somehow, I successfully avoided the movie for the last 30.5 years of my life (minus endless clips of Rhett Butler's famous "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"...which was actually mildly spoilery for the book, by the way), and I was able to first enjoy this story in written form. And enjoy it I did! For over two months, in fact. I spent most of the summer finishing this book, and I have zero regrets about savoring those 1024 pages for so long.
I knew that GWTW was a romance, but it is so much more than that. Because first of all, how fantastic of a character is Scarlett O'Hara? She is such a force to be reckoned with, especially for a woman in the Civil War era. At the same time, she is outrageously self-centered and naive, very much to a fault. I alternated frequently between cheering for her to get on with her bad self, and shaking my fist at her stupidity. The complexities of her character are endless, though in the end I really did love her, despite her many faults. (Okay, except maybe her role as a mother. She was a positively horrid mother.)
Beyond the romance, beyond Scarlett, we have a novel set quite dramatically against the backdrop of the Civil War. Scarlett and Rhett's story is inseparable from the tragedies of wartime in 1860's Atlanta. Not only is their relationship perfectly woven into this turbulent time period, but the novel does a pretty excellent job of detailing Civil War history. I was raised in Connecticut, where I imagine the Civil War is taught in schools with a bit of a different tone than it is in Georgia, or any of the southern states. This was probably the first account of the Civil War that I've read from a southern perspective (albeit a fictional one), and it was extremely eye-opening. The historical detail in this novel is every bit as compelling as Scarlett and Rhett's dramatic romance.
One of the most important messages in GWTW is this: be happy with what you have, when you have it. The grass is not always greener. Love the one you're with. I won't tell you if Scarlett learns these lessons or not, but it's quite a ride watching her try to get there.
I am so glad that I finally got around to tackling this classic. It is absolutely an epic novel that's worth your time! Now I need to get to the movie...although I must admit, the few clips I watched on YouTube already have me feeling like it won't do the book justice. (That famous Rhett quote isn't delivered in anywhere near the same tone it was written in the book...#readerproblems.)
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen!
YA up in the hizzy! And another main character named Scarlett? Weird. Stay tuned for a review...