Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into; no idea of what to expect.  I only knew that it was set in the South during the Civil War, the main characters were Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, and somewhere in it somebody says "My dear, I don't give a damn."  I have not seen the movie (yet).  I also knew that this was a well-loved book, especially by one blogging friend in particular.

I bought myself a copy a couple years ago, and put the book on my Classics Club list.  But I still didn't read it.  Last year, this book came up in discussion in my book group at the library and I gently suggested that we read it over the summer.  Everyone agreed, and there you go....  I had all summer to read it.  A different kind of reading project happened at the end of summer (which I sill be able to talk about in a month or so) and then I didn't even get to start reading this until two weeks ago - the book group meets tomorrow.  I actually finished last night....  and what can I say?

This book, this epic story of love and loss, of surviving when it doesn't seem possible, of life in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction...  this book is so much more than I ever expected.  I cried in parts, I was shocked in others, and I felt really uncomfortable as well (like when ever slaves spoke, were spoken about, or discussed in any way).  I spent two weeks with this book, and I believe I'm going to miss it.

Scarlett & Rhett's relationship was not what I expected at all.  Scarlett was not who I expected at all.  I really didn't like her much as she was so vain and selfish, but I understood her.  I was proud of her for going after what she wanted no matter what the neighbors said.  She treated others horribly, she was a terrible mother, and not a great wife either.  Most of all, she couldn't see the good that was right in front of her face... she couldn't appreciate it and could not reciprocate it.  And that was a shame.  Rhett, on the other hand, I liked right away.  He was the bad boy to love, and everyone loves the bad boy, right?  Well, I usually do.

The ending was not what I expected at all.  Well, sort of.  I did figure that Scarlett was going to finally come around and really see the men in her life for who they were.  But I didn't expect Rhett to do what he did, even though it makes perfect logical sense for him.

I loved this book.  I'm still a little in awe of my co-workers (you know, other librarians!) who made comments like "Why are your torturing yourself?" while I was reading it.  This book is not torture.  Big books do not scare me...  I typically love them more than others!  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie now!

*****
Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
Scribner, 2011.  First published 1936.
959 pages
Source:  Purchased new
*****

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7 comments:

Annette Mills said...

I've actually read this twice. And I can't say that about many books. The movie is good too, so you should experience it. Yea, it's long, but it keeps your interest. You made me want to read it again...

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

I can see myself reading this again someday. This book will not be donated to the library - just in case :)

Ekaterina Egorova said...

I love reading people's first impressions of really well-known books, and you post is so sweet it made me smile and do a re-read! I like how you profess your love for the book even though the characters sometimes act really frustratingly. But they are so human in that! You'll love the movie Rhett! He's even more impressive than in a book if it's even possible. Also, you have weird co-workers, I thought all librarians love big books :D

Ekaterina Egorova said...

I love reading people's first impressions of really well-known books, and you post is so sweet it made me smile and do a re-read! I like how you profess your love for the book even though the characters sometimes act really frustratingly. But they are so human in that! You'll love the movie Rhett! He's even more impressive than in a book if it's even possible. Also, you have weird co-workers, I thought all librarians love big books :D

Jillian said...

I am SO GLAD you loved it, Sarah! It doesn't even feel like 1,000 pages, eh? (I've read this five times. It gets better every time.) :D

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

Ekaterina - to be fair, the co-worker in question is a children's librarian, so... I guess this sort of thing just isn't in her wheelhouse.

Jillian - I associate this book with you particularly! It was just so easy to open the cover and fall deep into the pages. I completely understand reading it so often!

Major said...

I read this as a teenager, a very long time ago. I couldn't put it down, such was the non-stop action. It's easy to see why it was a best-seller and made into a movie. Sure allowances have to be made for out-dated attitudes but that's another reason to read the book.

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