Review: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Monday March 11, 2013 at 12:00 am |

gonewiththewind-mmPublisher: Pocket Books
Published: May 20, 2008
Copyright: 1936, 1964, 2208
Pages: 1448
Form: Paperback
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Buy The BookB&N |  Book Depository

Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives.

In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.

A monumental classic considered by many to be not only the greatest love story ever written, but also the greatest Civil War saga.

My Thoughts

Being a fan of historical novels I thought Gone With the Wind a very thorough depiction of southern life before, during, and after the Civil War.  It was an EPIC novel of survival whose setting and characters came to life and were so real they seemed to almost leap off the pages.

Scarlett O’Hara is young, vibrant, and desired by every young man in town.  But Scarlett has eyes only for Ashley Wilkes, who is already promised to another.  Through various husbands, war, and the aftermath, Scarlett foolishly holds onto her love for Ashley.

You guys…iCan’t with Scarlett O’Hara.  I swear that girl could work a nerve!  She is, without a doubt, one of the most despicable, vile, self-centered, and underhanded characters I’ve ever read about.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the stunts she pulled and wonder at how nobody ever did her bodily harm.  But though I cannot stand Scarlett, I have a perverse admiration for her and a grudging respect.  The girl has a very shrewd mind for business and an innate instinct for survival.  She transcends her time and generation by doing what she must to provide for her family, including running her own businesses despite what anyone thinks about it.  I just hate that all she ever did and accomplished was purely motivated by selfish reasons.  I don’t know that she ever had any intentions toward anyone that didn’t somehow serve herself and in end up benefiting her.  She didn’t even really give a second thought to her own children.  While she is a great business woman, she is a horrible wife, mother, sister, and friend.  By the end, I was left feeling about her as Rhett did, not giving a damn.

Now Rhett is an altogether different story.  And while he had many of the same inherent qualities as Scarlett, Rhett always seemed to care more about people than he let on as evidenced by returning Mrs. Wilkes wedding ring, joining the war when he didn’t believe in it, and his great love for Scarlett and daughter Bonnie.  He was honest to a fault, whether people wanted to hear the truth or not, and he was good to people.  He was a great figure for Scarlett’s other children, helped to save the lives of all those who consistently shunned him, and treated Scarlett like she had actually had a brain.  His honesty about who and what he was was refreshing.  Yes he was a scoundrel, but he never denied it nor tried to hide that, and in fact at times gloried it in.  But despite that he was still helpful to others without always being motivated by selfishness.  In dealing with Scarlett I felt sorry for the man because he really did care for her.  He was the one constant in her life, yet she never paid attention enough to recognize that.  I thought Rhett Butler one of the most patient, honest, and kind bad boys to ever grace the pages of a book.  His generosity and love are unparalleled and I hated to see his story end without him receiving the kind of love he deserved and had surely earned.

Gone With the Wind is full of a host of wonderful characters that all touch the heart and draw on your emotions in some way.  Milly, Mammy, Ashley, Pork, Pitty Pat, and so many others served to build Scarlett’s world and round out her experiences.  It is a very character driven novel, and Mitchell took care with shaping each and every one.

As a period piece, I’ve never before read such a long book about a character I despised, yet still loved the story.  The history was on point while keeping the main focus on the characters.  Overall I loved it, but one cannot read this lightly.  Its a story of war and survival, which ultimately results in alienation and indifference…the kiss of death!

PS:  I also watched the movie and Clark Gable is a handsome man!  Dark, like a Pirate! (YES and YES!)

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Jade

Written by Jade

Jade is a book blogger from NC. In her spare time she loves to read and build and maintain websites. She has been reading since she was four and building websites since she was 16. SortofBeautiful.com was born on March 8, 2011 and is a fantastic merging of her two favorite hobbies. Enjoy your stay!

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13 Responses to “Review: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell”

  1. Belle says:

    One of my all time favorites hun – movie and book. I first fell in love with the movie though.

    • Jade Jade says:

      I can’t believe I went as long as I did without experiencing either. I’m glad I finally bit the bullet because it really was a very good story!

  2. I’m oh so glad that you read it. I absolutely love how Scarlett made me feel. It was honestly the first book that I read where the main character was so imperfect (I read this one when I was much younger). I agree with you about everything. I love love love Rhett but you know this. I felt the same about Scarlett. She’s selfish but I too felt a grudging respect for ability to survive. Isn’t Clark Gable so very handsome?!

    • Jade Jade says:

      Me too Alexis. It’s rare an author writes so well that you can even enjoy a much hated and despised character. I was just waiting for her to finally grow up and when her epiphany comes at the end, I thought, too little too late!

      And Rhett was simply everything. I could fall for him for his complete and total honesty alone.

  3. This is such a long book, it’s still on my to-read list. I’m impressed you tackled it! Too bad the heroine wasn’t more likable though. Based on pop culture references, I expected more from her.

  4. Did you just say 1448 pages? OMG! That is why I never read it. I will have to cacth the movie on this one.

  5. Molli says:

    I need to break down and read this one at some point, Jade, but I’m not sure I could put up with Scarlet! I will say she grows some in the sequel (which I believe was penned by a ghostwriter?) But she definitely seemed like one of those characters you just want to shake, in the movie at least. I’m glad you enjoyed the book though. I always DID think Rhett was too good for her! haha.

    • Jade Jade says:

      Molli! I think the story will overshadow SOME of Scarlett’s annoyingness (I made that up!). And it’ll make you anxious to know what all is going on with Rhett cause there are stretches of time that he is not present. And Yes, Rhett is way too good for Scarlett.

  6. Oh this is SUCH a good review! Love that you read this book, and I LOVE your take on it. Nice one. :0)

  7. Carole says:

    Hi, Carole’s Chatter is collecting posts about Favourite Romance Novels. This looks like a good one. It would be super if you linked it in. This is the link – Your Favourite Romances There are over 25 links already. I hope to see you soon. Cheers

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