Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Heralded by readers everywhere since its publication in 1936 as The Great American Novel, Gone With the Wind explores the depths of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the bluff red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it brings the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction vividly to life.

This is the tale of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled, ruthless daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War sweep away the life for which her upbringing as prepared her. After the fall of Atlanta she returns to the plantation and by stubborn shrewdness saves her home from both Sherman and the carpetbaggers. But in the process she hardens. She has neared starvation and she vows never to be hungry again.

In these vivid pages live the unforgettable people who have captured the attention of millions of readers - of every age, in every walk of life. Here are Rhett Butler, Scarlett's counterpart, a professional scoundrel as courageous as Scarlett herself; Melanie Wilkes, a loyal friend and true gentlewoman; and Ashley Wilkes, for whom the world ended at Appomattox. Here are all the characters and memorable episodes that make Gone With the Wind a book to read and re-read and remember forever. (from book jacket)


I decided to read Gone With the Wind after my grandmom kept begging me to read it and telling me that I would love it and want to be like Scarlett. Then my mom bought me a copy in the beginning of last summer. And now I have finally gotten around to reading Gone With the Wind. I'm really glad I had all these people conspiraring to get me to read this epic novel, because it was truly a great piece of American literature.

Gone With the Wind had all the detail and accuracy of a non-fiction book on the Civil War, but it had the drama and plot of the best fiction around. This made for a very good combination because I love history, but I'd rather read actual stories rather than war accounts. Margaret Mitchell is truly a great author and I'm saddened by the fact that she died before she could write any more novels.

Gone With the Wind is (very) long at over 1000 pages. While the length bordered on ridiculous, the sheer volume allows for a lot of plot and character development, which is always a positive. And surprisingly, the book was rarely slow. I won't deny that the language was older and slightly harder to get through - but that just made it better in my opinion.

Scarlett is one of my favorite literary characters. She is bred to be a wife and the manager of a great plantation, but all that changes when the Civil War begins. She quickly becomes smart, resourceful, and cunning. Scarlett would do anything to ensure the safety and well-being of herself, her family, and her beloved Tara, which makes her a strong and brave character. She's also charming and uses her whiles to woo a number of men, including the witty and devilish Rhett Butler, another favorite of mine.

Gone With the Wind is truly a wonderful piece of literature; it's full of romance, war, excitement, history, everything that makes a novel great. Don't let the size scare you, because you'll fly through these pages quickly and wonder how you ever lived your life without reading this great story.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

FTC: copy given to me as a gift.

1936/Scribner/1037 pages.

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