Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

gwiwFiction — print. Warner, 1999. Originally published 1936. 1,037 pgs. Library copy.

Gone with the Wind is daunting. With 1,037 pages, the book is large enough to incite a knee-jerk reaction and shove the book back on the shelf. Yet, thanks to Matt’s read-along, I cracked open the cover and began “the most revered American saga.”

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” (pg. 3)

Thus begins Margaret Mitchell’s classic American novel staring Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. I must warn you though, this review is only going to scratch the surface of my thoughts on the novel since I went so in-depth in my posts about each section of the book — Chp. 1-9, Chp. 10-25, Chp. 26-37, Chp. 38-50, and Chp. 51-63 — and because I want it to remain spoiler-free.

Basically, I loved this novel. I’m enamored with Mitchell’s writing – both the style and the story – although, I did find it difficult to figure out what Prissy, Mammy, and Pork were saying in the beginning. I felt extremely invested in Scarlett’s story like I was right there attending balls with her, running from the Yankees with her, picking cotton with her, and fighting with Rhett with her.

However, I did waffle between giving this book a four or a five because there were parts where I just wanted Mitchell to get on with the story, but I my growing affection for this novel won out. It pulled me in, refused to let me go, even after I turned the final page, and now I’m contemplating my own ending to the novel. Although, I must point out that Mitchell wrote the ending before she wrote anything else, which is probably why she never wrote her own sequel. {She also originally named her main character Pansy O’Hara, and only changed it at her editor’s demands.}

Paper Cuts, the New York Times‘ book blog, had a post up about whether or not Scarlett is actually a heroine, but I am inclined to say that she is. True, she’s still very self-centered and looks for scandal at every corner – the only thing holding her back and keeping her proper is her mother, Ellen, but that deterrent eventually subsides – but Gone with the Wind would be incredibly boring if Scarlett acted like Melanie twenty-four seven.

It’s an amazing read, and I would recommend you check it out the next time you’re at the library.

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