The description says you'll find yourself rooting for Helen. I beg to disagree. I felt just the opposite. Helen is a spoiled, stubborn, selfish, impul...moreThe description says you'll find yourself rooting for Helen. I beg to disagree. I felt just the opposite. Helen is a spoiled, stubborn, selfish, impulsive, immature, bratty child. She is inconform with everything. She gets her way with everything. She is smarter, slyer, and altogether better than everyone else at everything by the ripe old age of fourteen (she is actually much younger throughout the first half of the book, yet that doesn't impair her knowledge or skills at all). The other characters serve as foils or teachers for Helen.
Okay. Obviously Ms. Friesner wanted to make Helen a strong female character, which is all nice and well, but most (if not all) of it is much too unbelievable. In fact, it seems Ms. Friesner wanted to glamorize every female—excluding Clytemnestra, Helen's twin sister in the book and biggest foil. Helen is perfect; Helen is unhuman.
Root for her? Nay, I wanted to bash her on the head.(less)
**spoiler alert** I was sorely disappointed with this book. I don't think anything in the world could ever make me want to read it again. I hardly man...more**spoiler alert** I was sorely disappointed with this book. I don't think anything in the world could ever make me want to read it again. I hardly managed to trudge through the impossible 1000+ pages one time as it is. I don't really know what kept me going except my stupid inability to drop a book once I've begun reading it, my wanting to find even a single redeeming quality or moment in the "heroine" (or any of the characters for that matter), and perhaps my own morbid want for the ending, to reach those famous words of Rhett. Yes. But even that was unsatisfying. The movie failed to capture the appalling, horribleness of this unbearable novel, else I'd never have picked it up. (Well, downloaded it!)
I don't even know where to begin with my distaste. Everything save the actual writing style and such of Margaret Mitchell was deplorable—the despicable characters, the glorified views of slavery and the KKK, the "carpetbag" Republican Northerners, the contradiction of the despicable characters with those glorified views—everything.
Scarlett O'Hara has to be the most repugnant character ever crafted. Vain, egotistic, vile, amoral, conniving, pitifully obsessed, never changing—nothing even begins to cover her. And to have her presented as some type of heroine! "Fiddle-dee-dee!"
She's the most beautiful belle of the state (for, really, she has to be—what else could explain how anybody would be stupid and blind enough to fall for her?), who attracts the attentions of (almost) every single male within a 100-mile radius, betrothed or otherwise; who rises up to every impossible challenge and tackles it with cold, heartless cruelty and always, always manages to succeed; disdains God as soon as praises Him (I never did keep up); and rejects society and its views but clings to it with a fierceness all the same.
She's the lying hypocrite who just as soon wishes everybody dead as alive—so that they can cater to her needs, of course. She's not above stealing the beaux of all the county gals—her own sisters' at that—despite no shortage of attention. No, no. This belle must have all the men in love with her. And once she's made them love her, play with their feelings and laugh in their faces, or (perhaps even worse) marry them to spite her imbecile of a lover or marry them for their money like the greedy weasel she is.
But for all that she is "skillful, crafty, witty" and whatever else, she is seriously and undeniably stupid and dense; she can't make sense of anything not plainly stated. More than half of everything goes over her precious head.
Oh, dear, and I told myself I wouldn't rant.
Well, that's only Scarlett and not the worst of her. Let's say nothing of the way her husbands conveniently die off. Let's say nothing of the disgustingly weak and soulfully adulterous Klansman Ashley or his blind, loving wife Melanie who cherishes the road Scarlett walks on and never, never sees anything wrong with what the weasel does (to Melly's credit, though, she'd have probably withered up and died had she ever allowed herself to believe the truth; ignorance is bliss, after all). Let's say nothing of the slaves who think lowly of field hands and spit at the " insolent free negroes" or something or other; nothing of the way the main characters (except poor, sweet Melly) don't believe in and go so far as to mock the Glorious Cause which knows no defeat, yet stand by it all the same. No. Let's stop while I still can. Let's stop before I can get to Rhett, much as I like or tolerate him.
Is it well-written? Yes, I'd say so. (Save the sometimes-awkward sentence and the dialogue of the "darkies" and the boring, long passages.)
Does it have gripping scenes? Sometimes. Fine, I'll give you that.
Should it have been so long? No. In fact, it could've and should've been half the length. It certainly would've made it more endurable.
The historical value? Other than the indisputable, I doubt most of it and chalk it up to Scarlett’s bias (for I attribute most of those views to the southern belle and not Michelle–Lord forbid). But what do I know other than what I've read?
What of the characters? Surely you jest. It's the story of a spoiled, selfish, aristocratic Southern Belle who never changes—except maybe for the worse—and gets her way with everything—or throws a tantrum and wishes the opposed to Halifax. A belle who pines after a sickening married man till nearly the very end of the book—all those pages!— and wishes his wife dead almost every step of the way, though the wife all but worships her. A belle who lords over anyone docile enough and always ends up winning; a belle who despises her own children (in fact, the children are hardly ever mentioned unless they're in the way); savagely accuses her THIRD husband (in less than 10 years) of killing their daughter, despite his complete adoration with the child; and though rejected by that same husband whom she suddenly realizes she loves most ardently, remains unchanged—she will make him fall in love with her again. She will have her way. And she'll think about it tomorrow.
I must say: if I were to judge the book by its affects, I’d give it 5 stars. Seldom has a book moved me so much, however positively or negatively.(less)
These books are great and funny. They follow the lives of a wife, her husband, their child(ren?), and people they interact with. The husband always co...moreThese books are great and funny. They follow the lives of a wife, her husband, their child(ren?), and people they interact with. The husband always complains about his health and blames every little thing on the wife, and she takes it all in stride, pretending he's right and blahblah, though she hardly knows what he's going on about. She's learned to ignore him for the most part.
I read the books (there's three) in ebook form awhile ago (probably a year or so; yeah, such a long time ago. pft), so I don't remember if it's one or two children the couple have. I know there was a boy...and I think a girl as well. But that's hardly important anyway. :S
I won't give the individual happenings of the books away, but I do recommend you read them. I doubt you'll be disappointed. (less)
My interest kind of fluctuated as I was reading this book, especially after chapter 19. But for the times it was held, the book was really enjoyable (...moreMy interest kind of fluctuated as I was reading this book, especially after chapter 19. But for the times it was held, the book was really enjoyable (my interest was wonderfully caught again near the end). I had to laugh at times, as usual, because of the Jane Austen style of weaving humor into the story—especially some of the conclusions Catherine, the heroine, reached! But as I said, my interest waned and waxed throughout. I suppose it's due to the fact that Jane Austen never really polished the work, perhaps never having intended to have it published since it was only made so after her death. Still, I think it was worth the read.(less)