#13 – Gone with the Wind
I quickly became less excited when I got the actual book in my hands — at 1037 pages, it looked like a daunting task. But I needn’t have worried! It. Was. Awesome. If you are at all interested in the Civil War, as I am, that alone will hold your interest in this book. Having really only read accounts from the Northern perspective, it was fascinating (and horrifying) to read from the Southern perspective. I know that this is a fiction novel, and probably embellished for dramatic impact, but to read about the cruelness of Union soldiers, and how feared they were was eye opening. And I do give a certain amount of credence to Margaret Mitchell, as she was only one generation removed from the Civil War herself.
A lot of my favorite movies (Last of the Mohicans, Titanic) are my favorite because they have history, romance AND action. The Gone with the Wind film doesn’t really have much action, but the book has a lot. The book spends a good amount of time with the soldiers, although to be fair it does spend more time on politics and strategy than on fight scenes, but it surprised me and it held my interest.
Of course the majority of the book is about Scarlett O’Hara and is told from her perspective. I really enjoyed how much deeper it delves into her character, it makes her much more human and by the time you come to the end you see that Scarlett has made many mistakes, but most of the choices she’s made are what any smart, motivated, forward-thinking person would do. Most of the characters in the book hate Scarlett because she decides she must earn a living (only men earned money in those days), she doesn’t want children, and she becomes friendly with the Yankees after the South falls because there’s really no other way to thrive. A lot of the characters are stuck in the old ways and they judge Scarlett for so easily giving up what they hold so dear. But with the blessing of present-day perspective it’s easy to see that Scarlett was right. The old ways were gone forever, and she was smart to forget about them and move forward with her life.
Unfortunately the story also falls prey to one of those most frustrating of plot devices, most commonly used on soap operas today — if the characters would only SAY what they’re thinking instead of keeping it inside always, a lot of problems would be avoided. You just want to shout at Scarlett to tell Rhett that she does love him and to let go of her silly pride, but alas, it’s a book and the characters can’t hear you.
I really enjoyed reading this, and I’m glad I actually purchased the book because I will definitely read it again. I highly recommend it if you have the time to get into a novel of this length!