Emily's Reviews > Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
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's review
Aug 04, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: novels
Recommended to Emily by: "It's a classic!"
Recommended for: No one.
Read from December 01, 1991 to June 01, 2004 , read count: 1

I received my copy of Gone With the Wind in 1991 and never got past the first 50 or 100 pages in any of my annual attempts at this books until 2004, at which point I decided to defeat the book one and for all. I FINALLY FINISHED READING THE DAMN BOOK.

I want my time back.

There was a reason I never before read past the first 50 or 100 pages - Scarlet is a raging evil snarky miserable bitch and I hate her. None of the other characters were particularly likable - ranging from sniveling, whiny sissies to evil, snarky assholes.

I don't care if it *is* some great story about surviving in a war zone or some bullshit line like that. None of these characters really expressed the complexities or debated the moral dilemmas involved in surviving the Civil War. Scarlet was a whiny, conniving miserable human being and I don't give a crap if she "only did what she had to do as a woman." She didn't have to treat Ashley or Rhett or ANYONE the way she did, or she could have at least felt bad about it or something.

I disliked every single character and their miserable lives. I want my time back.

But by God did it feel good when Rhett tells her "My dear, I don't give a damn" because neither do I.

(PS: I am, in fact, allowed to dislike this book. You don't need to reply to my review by calling me names. I'm perfectly happy to hear about why you did like it, or why you didn't like it, but I'm tired of people coming to MY review and calling me names because I don't like this "classic" book.")

(PPS: This book is also a racist & sexist glorification of a racist & sexist past. It's the literary equivalent of the Confederate Flag.)
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 149) (149 new)

message 1: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Emily, I have to agree with your review. I started the book in 2007 and got just far enough to realize that Scarlett was about to marry her own sister's love. I was and AM so mad at her that I have not been able to finish the book.

Emily Barbara, she's really just not a nice person!

I'd say don't bother trying to finish it. Find something you acutally enjoy reading. I wish i had read something different with that time!

Heidi She didn't do only what she had to do as a woman! If you read further in the book, you'd find out she brings Melanie back to Tara after Melanie gives birth, and practically single-handedly puts food on the table. Yes, she went about getting the money for Tara all wrong, and it made her a bit selfish, but she didn't use her ill-gotten money for her own gains. She used it to feed 11-13 people (depending on where you are in the book). She used it to keep Tara running, so she could get money to never be hungry again.

Yes, she was a selfish bitch, yes she did things for her own selfish gain, but there were times when she did things for others as well. It would serve her no purpose to ensure Melanie and Beau's survival. Indeed, if she just left Melanie in Atlanta and let Melanie die, she could easily re-marry Ashley and starve due to Ashley not being able to live in the post-Civil War era (after the rose-tinted view of the south's civilization left the building).

She did do things that normal women in that day and age didn't. She started her own lumber business, and took advantage of society's inability to say anything bad about a woman/lady by buying bad lumber and selling it for an up-scale cost.

If you ever decide to read the book again, skip all the way to Chapter 13, if you can. For the most part, the first 12 chapters are background. If you've seen the movie and know that Scarlett had a boy (Wade Hampton Hamilton) from her first movie, you should be able to start at Chapter 13 just fine. Chapter 13 is where the real story starts.

Emily If you'd read my review carefully, you'd know that I did read the whole book. I am convinced that Scarlet was a whiny selfish bitch and not one of the main characters had any redeeming qualities. She treated Melanie, Ashley, Rhett and her own children like shit. She sold lumber in order to make money so that she could try to get her old lifestyle back so she could be pretty and thin. It's not like she was selling lumber at a discount to rebuild the war torn south. I don't need a model of that kind of a woman in my life. I wouldn't want to meet any of those people and I'm quite glad that book isn't taking up space on my bookshelf anymore.

Katherine I don't know why this "heroine" needed to have such a horrific personality disorder. She's histrionic, self-serving, and a completely hollow character. Right on.

deliabookworm Scarlett is supposed to be horrible. That's what makes the novel powerful.

Emily I found that it made the novel horrible.

Summer Arnold Are you crazy!? Scarlett was a jerk, given, but if she wasn't that way the book wouldn't have been near as good. Rhett was WONDERFUL! This is definitely one of my favorite books!

Pamela I can see how Scarlett is viewed as negatively as you have written.....I certainly see that. I haven't decided if I agree or disagree or just to "some degree" disagree with you...(chuckle!)

BUT...as I am thinking about it...having read the book once before at age 13 (I think) and now I am currently re-reading it at age 37 (gasp!)...something I am noticing that I hadn't noticed before is her AGE. I am much more aware of her age playing a factor in her actions this time.

This time I am thinking to myself....

She is 16 years old. AND she is behaving like a 16 year-old. Most 16 year-olds that I know have some degree of "cattiness" and take no conscience to back-stabbing each other over some boys. I know of only a few who are NOT self-centered to some degree and NONE who are wise enough to have any significant insight to the consequences of their actions. Scarlett is behaving just like any other 16 year-old girl I have in my youth group. This time I am finding it quite entertaining!

With that said...I still love the story...frustrating and all. But I do think her age needs to be considered before completely bashing the SNOT! LOL!!!

Interesting take on her character Emily...I quite enjoyed your review!!!

Ain020596 I definately stopped at about page 50 or so, and I hate Scarlett so much i gave up on the book even though my mother offered money if i were to finish it. I naturally had thought, as a book-fanatic, this was gonna be as easy as pie, but clearly, the pain was unbearable.

Maddy omg how could u say that! i mean i respect your opinion but thats what makes the book what it is! its my favorite book because it has romance and suspense and it teaches a life lesson or two. if scarlett wasnt the way she is than the book would be horrible and the story lines wouldnt play out.so i respect your opinion but i completly disagree

message 12: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I don't think making a selfish, spoiled, bratty woman a role model is a good thing. I don't think there's any romance in there: she wants to own Ashley and she & Rhett use & manipulate each other. It's a bunch of sick relationships. I think the book is horrible and the story lines are filled with unpleasant characters.

message 13: by Danielle (last edited Sep 23, 2010 09:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Danielle who said that you have to like scarlett to appericate the book? i didnt particuarly care fo scarlett or ashely or anyone else in the book, nontheless, it was a good book. i think your dislike of characters are distracting you from a fabolous read. try to be more objective in the future, just my advice.

LIFE is filled with unremarkable and unliked people...but damn if they dont have a good story to tell!

Katherine Hear, hear, Emily.

Not enough truly horrible things happened to Scarlett O'Horror in the novel. If she'd caught fire and burned in agony for the final fifty pages, it wouldn't have been enough to make up for my having wasted that much of my time on that interminable novel, but I would have known she entirely deserved it. What a repulsive little human cockroach.

Setsuna You talk of Scarlett as if she was some woman Hiltler. I can see the justification in your hate, but I think it you're taking it too far. She was not the greatest person by any means. But there ARE characters who have done worse things.

Plus, it's not like the book glories those traits. Scarlett became successful because of her dtermination and strong will to survive. But she lost everything in the end because of all those other undesirable traits.

The only thing left for her was Tara, which she worked damn hard to keep.

message 16: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily Maybe Scarlett would have had something left besides Tara if she hadn't been such a selfish and uncaring bitch.

I'd simply rather read books with at least one character I like, and maybe even a female lead who I don't think is a horrible person and a terrible example for girls.

And I'd like my time back. I could have read something better with those hours.

message 17: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily also: "Human cockroach" is beautiful!

Setsuna Nah, I disagree. If Scarlett has one redeeming quality, it is her strong will to survive. And like I said, if Scarlett was meant to be the perfect example for girls, the author would have given her a happy ending.

I think that Gone With the Wind is a beautiful, well-written story that every generation should experience. I'm sorry that you did not enjoy it.

Muniba I disagree,Scarlett may be all those things*(wat the hell.she IS!)But that only adds more power to the novel ,a sort of uniqueness that can`t be found any where else.I mean how many heroines are bitches with a capital B?

message 20: by B (new)

B Maybe you should learn to enjoy ALL types of people, not just the ones you perceive as hero archetypes.
You missed the whole point of the book, but I really don't think that you wasted your time.

Darcie Grunblatt I disagree. Scarlet is what makes Gone With the Wind, Gone With the Wind. Rhett is WONDERFUL and so is Mammy and all the slaves! It's 1448 pages and I never once was bored. I did cry in the end, but that was because it was super sad (obviously). I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!

message 22: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily RE: my need to learn to enjoy all types of people:

1. These are fictional characters, not people. I don't need to learn to enjoy, tolerate or anything FICTIONAL characters because they're NOT REAL.

2. It's not that I think Scarlet is "not a hero archetype." My concern isn't the things that she's NOT, but the things that she IS.

Scarlet was a whiny, conniving miserable human being and I don't give a crap if she "only did what she had to do as a woman." She didn't have to treat Ashley or Rhett or ANYONE the way she did, or she could have at least felt bad about it or something.

She was a self-serving, despicable human being with no redeeming characteristics, and if YOU want to tolerate or enjoy despicable human beings (who are fictional or otherwise) that's totally your right.

I found that her selfish motivations made me hate her and the book in its entirety. And perhaps Mammy is wonderful, but she represents a white depiction of one of the few roles black women could have in white literature, stage & film.

I really do feel like I wasted the time that it took me read that book. I will never get that time back to use reading something better.

Darcie Grunblatt She wasn't COMPLETELY horrible. She brought Melanie back to Tara while the whole city was on fire and there was not a single carriage. She was really brave and unselfish then! She also ran her own company while she was pregnant and that's something that NO woman would ever be seen doing. That was also brave. She didn't care what people thought of her and in her case, that is a redeeming quality. Also, she cares about people. She cared about Melanie, her three children, Rhett, Ashley, her father, her mother,...ect. When Tara had nothing, she picked cotton like a slave because she cared about the land. Not many people can do that. Those are several redeeming qualities.

message 24: by B (new)

B Emily,
No one can force you to like Gone With The Wind, and I'm sorry that you feel that you have wasted your time reading it. Most people loved the book and all the characters in it. I didn't like Ashley Wilkes,...... thought he was a wussy!
I also thought the movie was not nearly as good as the book, but I do realize that making a movie from a book that long would be extremely difficult.
Would be interested to hear of a book that you really liked.

message 25: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily "Most people" might be a relative term - most people I've talked to in person about the book didn't like it either.

As to some books I really liked:“My Antonia” by Willa Cather

“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“The Gap Into Power” Series by Stephen Donaldson

“Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist

“Nightwatch” and series by Sergei Lukyanenko

“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

“The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkien

“The Chronicles of Narnia” by CS Lewis

“A Girl of the Limberlost” Gene Stratton-Porter

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Most things I’ve read by: Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, Isaac Asimov, Alexander McCall Smith, LM Montgomery

message 26: by B (new)

B Great list! Thanks, gives me some ideas for new reads.

One of my favorites is "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole, a very clever and funny book.
Another favorite of mine is "Shibumi" by Trevanian. His other books sucked!!!

1luvbooks I do hate Scarlett, and I can appreciate your point of view, but there was also something that just made me keep reading. For me, there were a FEW redeeming qualities and characters.

Célia Loureiro «She could at least felt bad about it or something». Well, at times, she did. But she didn't let it bring her down. And in life did you often see strong, determinated people, crying over the work fellow who wasn't promoted because he/she was?

Emily Bad characters don't necessarily make bad books, its about how their bad characteristics add to the story and benefit/damage the plot. In Gone With the Wind, I think Scarlett's monstrosity is a beautiful creation to the story that was not without a heaping of effort to make. I can COMPLETELY understand that you think she is horrible, a human cockroach, a conniving, evil bitch. BUT, it does benefit the story, that's what makes the whole perspective of the novel original in the most crisp and exhilarating way! Now, I don't blame you if you never want to pick it up again. I feel that some characters and books are just not for certain readers, they simply can't take it. But I just wanted to make you aware that Scarlett O'Hara was horrible, not Gone With the Wind. It took effort on my part to get past the beginning and into the heart of the story to realize just how much a masterpiece was craftily woven. If you've read past 100 pages, you've had realized that the books raises much more complexities about the war then you ever expected, and more so than any other book. I know that in the beginning she talks of anything but. She prattles on about the descriptions of rooms, flowers, dresses, shoes and all shiny things that add to vanity. And I thought the same thing too. But its also much more then that.

message 30: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily See, here's the thing: I think one could read a book about the complexities of war that isn't filled with horrible disgusting selfish characters. I think one could write a book about a war in which the main character was actually plausibly a good role model for human behavior.

I simply think there aren't any redeeming characters in the story, and that makes it a terrible story - a story I would go back in time and NOT READ if I could get my time back.

Katie Scarlett was a survivor. She was those qualities because that's how she survived. You don't have to be a nice, well-to-do lady with manners to survive during and after the Civil War; hence, Melly was so weak, though nice nad pure, she died off because she was not a survivor like Scarlett and Rhett. The book manipulates you to love Scarlett at times, absolutely hate her, want to hit her, want to hug her, etc. That's why it's a classic. If you don't like the book just because she was a bitch and what YOU consider not a role model, I think you expected a Disney princess ending or something. But to each their own.

Setsuna Emily wrote: "See, here's the thing: I think one could read a book about the complexities of war that isn't filled with horrible disgusting selfish characters. I think one could write a book about a war in which..."

Who says that a character, even the main character, has to be a "good role model for human behavior"? It's the characters of Gone With the Wind, their good qualities and all, that makes this book a classic. If it was filled with characters who had absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever, then I can understand your hatred. After all, if a book is going to be filled with one-dimensional characters, they should be AT LEAST tolerable. But Margaret Mitchell created characters I actually reacted to, and this was the first author who has ever done that for me. I disliked Scarlett and her pettiness, yet I sympathized with her situation: losing both her parents, losing her friends, losing her home, and in the end, becoming completely alone. You can't blame her for everything that she has done. Most of her behavior came from the war. She was desperate and naive and she no longer had parental figures to guide her through it. I couldn't help but admire her for her guts and determination to survive under all costs. Picking cotton until her hands bled, keeping Ashley's promise to protect Melanie and risking her life in the process, starting her own business and putting a middle finger up to what was left of southern society...all this coming from a dainty little southern belle.
By today's standards, of course she was manipulative, selfish, and often very annoying. But she is still a character completely ahead of her time. And I respect her and I respect the entire novel because of this.

message 33: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I say so, and since this is my review, that's totally awesome.

I also don't believe that any of the characters had any redeeming qualities. I believe that by any standard of any time Scarlett was selfish and manipulative. I think she's disgusting. If that's what it takes to "be survivor" I don't think I want to be survivor. I think he character utterly fails at exemplifying the challenges of facing war because she makes no attempt to be a decent human being.

I wish I had not taken the time to finish reading this book.

1luvbooks What about Melanie? I think she had some redeeming qualities, at least, though I think the others (except for Ashley. I hated him) had some too, but maybe that's an opinion thing.

message 35: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I think Melanie was whining, weak child of a woman. I might not have cared so much if there had been any other redeeming characters in the book.

Leslie What boring books we would have if we always had to LIKE the characters. And who on earth ever said that she was supposed to be a "role model"? No one, as far as I know.

message 37: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I don't need to like *all* the characters in a book, but it's definitely more enjoyable if I like at least one. Maybe I really meant that I want to be able to relate to at least one character. I see enough assholes in my normal life. I don't need them to star in my novels, too!

And my point is, I'd rather have stories about women who are admirable than women who are terrible. This books pissed me off because Scarlett was so inhumanely selfish and nasty, but it's praised as this amazing story of facing the challenges of war, yada yada yada --- but why does facing the challenges of war have to be told from the perspective of such a horrible character? Ew. I felt dirty for the way she treated most of the people in her life, including her own children!

Also, as I said above, *I* say I'd rather have positive role models as the lead characters in the books I read, and since this is my review, my opinion is the one that matters :p

message 38: by Jess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jess I think Scarlett is one of the most interesting, complicated heroines ever written. She isn't just a heartless bitch. She is may be cold and manipulative and stubborn, but she is also brave and strong and resourceful. Nobody wants a perfect heroine. I like that Scarlett isn't easy to love.

message 39: by Laura (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura Emily,
Totally agree. What a waste of time. I only read it because I wanted to see why it was considered such an awesome book. However, I still haven't figured that out, even more so after reading it. I like strong, brave and resourceful heroines as well, like Petra in "An Enemy of the People," but there is absolutely nothing likable about Scarlett. Her attitude towards her own children really did it for me. As a mother, I just can't fathom any woman treating her children the way this one did.

message 40: by Penny (new)

Penny With an utterly childish and rubbish review like yours simply moaning and bitching about it in a hateful manner like you do, I hope people will ignore your review! You are simply an unhappy person with anger issues! and the mood you were clearly in when you read your "50 pages" tells me someone could have given you 5 million quid and you'd still be a bitchy pain in the ass!

message 41: by Penny (new)

Penny wow so many idiotic uneducated hateful reviews! These are people who simply are unhappy posting comments like "I hated it/I hate her" Its like a child in a restaurant who spits his food out and screams "bleu!" When you are educated enough to expand on your answer then maybe you can make a review that's actually worth while!

message 42: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily *someone* hasn't read the rest of the thread - in which I expand upon the reasons why I hated this book, and clarify that after years of barely managing to get through the first 50 pages r so, I decided to read the whole thing - and hated it. Don't come to MY REVIEW and call me names (like childish or unhappy with anger issues) just because I didn't like the book, and because I think Scarlett is a terrible role model for women or human beings.

It's an awfully good thing that YOU can like the books that you like, and I can like the books that I like. AND I WON'T CALL YOU A BITCHY PAIN IN THE ASS IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY FAVORITE BOOK.

message 43: by Mriga (new) - rated it 1 star

Mriga Kumar god i'm totally with you emily. my problem is that when i start reading a book, i finish it. in this case i was eagerly waiting for this damned thing to end! i was like ok, 100 down about 400 to go! (i want my time back too!)

Linda Moore I love Scarlett in spite of her terrible personality traits. She is selfish, she is conniving and she can be quite cruel in her single-mindedness. But I also think she is strong, resourceful, and a definite survivor. However, as I said in my review, I enjoy the film version of her much more than the literary version of her. She's quite a bit more whiny in the book.

Leigh Emily, love your post. You may not have felt like reading the book was a waste of your time but you sure have enjoyed your time complaining about it. Love it lol. You should read Scarlet just to rekindle your hatred :)

message 46: by Mriga (new) - rated it 1 star

Mriga Kumar linda, i have'nt seen the movie and only read the book and yes i agree that scarlett is a survivor but she would always be a mean and selfish bitch in my opinion.

leigh, yeah, reading scarlett to rekindle the hatred? i can think about a million less time consuming options for that! :P

Kathryn I just "finished" reading it - when I say finished I mean I got half way through (to where Cathleen Calvert gets married) and couldn't stand it any longer. The book wasn't really going anywhere and I hated the characters. Scarlett is one of the worst women i've read about, yes I know that things happened to her but she didn't need to be like that to the people who really loved her (especially Melly). Then after I couldn't stand it I skipped the last half of the book and went couple chapters to the end. I am usually objective when I read and don't mind hateful characters so much (heck, I loved Wuthering Heights and look at those guys!) but couldn't get into this. Also, WHERE was the romance? Scarlett never truly loved anyone except a fantasy of Ashley she had - and she didn't realize she loved Rhett until it was right for her at the end of the book. I didn't see no great romance there. I will go and watch the movie to see what the rest of the fuss is about. Really enjoyed your review!

message 48: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Contey please give it up everyone! scarlet was just a girl!living in a totally differt period of time , she was pampered her entire life, what do you expect? she got what she wanted on a silver platter, what do you expect from any other spoiled brat? and then suddenly your world is smashed and your thrown to fend for yourself how do you do it? where do you start? when you never had to do anything before, yeah, work is tough etc. she found that out the hard way which like rhett said hardened her a bit. she just wanted ashley 'cause she new she couldn't have him (like a game) sign of immaturity & being spoiled.she need rhett who was really her match much stringer than ashley

message 49: by Abi (new)

Abi Mccuistion Wait, Emily...You're saying you can't relate to Scarlett at all? Okay, I get it. Your review, your opinion. I'm not going to argue (very much :) ) Just saying, I'm seventeen, the same age as Scarlett towards the beginning of the book, and I can be a selfish pain in the rear sometimes. Things seem like a good idea when they're actually really, really stupid. Little crushes feel like unrequited love. It happens to everyone. The only difference between most normal, decent people and Scarlett is that the decent ones try to control their childish impulses and she doesn't. The impulses are the same.
So, while the heroine doesn't have many heroic qualities, she is a fascinating character who helps to make the book worth reading. In my opinion.

message 50: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Caldwell I am a 55 year old grandmother who LOVES the book, the movie and Scarlett! I saw the movie for the first time during an elementary school field trip and I was thrilled to find out there was a book! Since that time I have read and reread the book countless times. If I had been blessed with a daughter instead of all sons her name would have been Katie Scarlett! Maybe its the generation I grew up in but I know it is one of the greatest books I have ever wasted my time on.

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