Thursday, November 17, 2011
by Margaret Mitchell
completed September 2011
Before I start the review, I just want to mention that the cover image is the same one that was on the book that I read. It was a copy that I borrowed from my library, and let me just say that I'm not a fan of that cover. What is up with Scarlett's hair? It's all whispy and looks like half of it has been burned off. Hideous, I tell you! Maybe I'm the only one that thinks so.
So, on to the book. I don't know if there is anyone alive that doesn't at least know the premise of Gone with the Wind. I'll just sum it up by saying it is a story of Scarlett O'Hara of Georgia and begins before the Civil War and continues through the Reconstruction. The scope of the novel is about ten years. I read a post by Jill of Fizzy Thoughts that made me laugh. She said that she hated Scarlett from the beginning (as did I). Click on over because she says it so much better than I can. Scarlett is awful! I kept hoping through the ten years of the story, she would have grown out of her selfishness, but no, she just seems to get worse. Despite not liking Scarlett, I actually like the novel (didn't love it though). I'm curious if there is anyone out there that actually liked Scarlett.
Gumption is often mentioned in this book as a positive trait. It is, to some extent, but where it starts to break down for me, is when morality is lost because of gumption. For example, is it okay to steal food from other so that you can survive. I'm not talking about stealing from the rich even, I'm talking about stealing from other poor who will likely starve without it? Scarlett was full of gumption; she was constantly pushing to ensure security for her family. But at what price? I think it's interesting in the end that there is much discussion about happiness. Scarlett is constantly in pursuit of what she thinks will make her happy, but what happens when she has it? Is she really happy? I'm sure you can guess what the answer is.
I know there are many who think Melanie as a character who is too unrealistic. I disagree. I have met people like her who are strong, but refuse to be dragged down into the muck. They see the good in others and are principled, yet kind. Some call people like Melanie naive, but I think she knew much more than she let on.
Having finished this behemoth of a book, I'm glad to have said that I've read it. I certainly won't be doing it again. The first half was a major slog. Once I hit about 500 pages in, it picked up and I read the rest fairly quickly. I'm a bit lukewarm on this one. I didn't find the writing anything special, not poorly written, but a little repetitive. I found the historical parts kind of boring. Historical fiction isn't a genre I generally enjoy, so out of personal preference, I was wishing those parts were more succinct.
Lastly, I watched the iconic movie a couple of days after finishing the book, and I was surprised by how much was changed. I found it interesting that they chose to leave out her first two children. For simplicity, I can see why, but I think showing how poorly she treats her first two children is quite an insight into her character. I found the movie a little slow and it took me a few days to watch it because of the length.
Am I blaspheming by saying I didn't love this? If you've read it, what are your thoughts on Gone with the Wind (especially Scarlett and Melanie)?
P. S. I still remember all of your recommendations on what to review! Thanks to everyone who responded. Life has hit me hard in the past few months, but I'm going to try to catch up. I'll definitely try to post reviews on the ones you requested first. Thanks!
Posted by Kristi at 12:47 PM