Title: Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Read: December 31, 2013
Summary: Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett 'O' Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler. goodreads
Where do I begin? Well, since shes the main character and the person everyone loves to hate, let's start with my girl Scarlett O'Hara. I have a confession. I loved Scarlett. Okay, okay, I know she was wretched most of the time. And pretty much a horrible friend, wife, mother, and all around person. But the girl was a spitfire and I liked that!
I liked her because she wanted to buck the traditions of meek, quiet women in the South even though it was for selfish reasons and now equality. She's all around a selfish person but while accomplishing her own goals, her success trickles down to positively affect those around her. Granted, sometimes she makes things harder for others, but the Wilkes would not have survived the war if it wasn't for Scarlett. Yes, she's a hard person to love and cheer for at times but she is a phenomenal character!
Next, good ol' Rhett Butler. One word, swoon. I fell in love with this man from the start. I loved how he pursued Scarlett and valued her for her mind and her individuality. He was the rebel of the 1800s but I can't be the only one who's heart he grabbed from the beginning. I loved his relationship with Bonnie and my heart broke for him at the end of the book. I didn't see any of that coming and was expecting more of a happy ending.
And in the end, I saw this story as a tragedy. It's about ill timed love affairs and how things can fall apart with one false move. Scarlett lost a lot throughout this book but she always stood strong and came out on the other side. Knowing that, I think it was easier to accept the ending of this book and know that Scarlett is nothing if not a survivor.
It turns out I'm a sucker for southern novels. I loved reading about the history of the civil war and what life was like before, during, and after. A lot of the beliefs and ways of life still ring true today in the south and it was interesting to be able to see where a lot of them stem from. As a transplant in the south, I never knew why people had these certain ways of thinking but after reading about the things they went through in the civil war, a lot more makes sense. Some of it is still certifiably crazy, (the north won and the war is over guys...) but I can empathize with them a little better.
My favorite part of this book overall continues to be the characters. Mitchell did a great job of the characterizations and I really connected with them. You cheered for them and wanted what's best for them even if they were crazy and selfish (looking at you, Scarlett.) I didn't want the book to end but now I'll have the pleasure of watching the movie for comparisons. I'm sure it won't hold a candle to the book but I'd love to see how this story comes to life in film.