JG (The Introverted Reader)'s Reviews > Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
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This sweeping epic portrays life during the Civil War and Reconstruction through the eyes of Scarlett O'Hara, a young Southern belle who has a stubborn streak a mile wide. She's in love with the wrong man, marries the wrong men, and is irredeemably selfish, but she's a survivor. Through it all, she steadfastly refuses the advances of reprobate blockade runner Rhett Butler. Their story is as timeless as it is turbulent.

I feel like the last Southern woman to read Gone With the Wind. My excuse, such as it is: I did try to read it once before, when I was way too young. I thought Scarlett was mean, Miss Melly was a wimp, and Ashley was just useless. I put it down very early on and never wanted to pick it up again. However, as the host of The Southern Literature Reading Challenge, people were shocked that I'd never read this Southern classic, my aunt perhaps most of all. She has read it multiple times and re-watches the movie religiously. She finally told me last year when we were at the Decatur Book Festival together, "How about we do a read-a-long? It's been years since I re-read it and I would love to get your reactions as you're reading it for the first time." With her shove support, I finally got up the nerve to tackle this beast.

I loved it. I'm more inclined to give it 4.5 stars, but I'll round up to 5 in honor of Pat. I have an ancient old mass market paperback with the tiniest font known to man and I still plowed through. My eyes physically hurt from the strain of reading almost 1000 pages of "ant prints" as I call fonts that small, and I still could not put it down.

These characters just came to life for me. Don't ask me if I hated them or loved them because I still couldn't tell you and it's been over 6 months since I finished it. Rhett--I eventually loved him, even though there were times I wanted to smack that smirk off his face. Ashley--I didn't respect him at all. He was a weak excuse of a man. Melanie--I thought she was weak and silly at first, but she's probably the strongest character in the book in a lot of ways. She surprised me. Just when I wrote her off as hopeless, she would do something to make me change my mind. Scarlett--I was all over the place. I loathed her, I respected her. She was selfish, she was a survivor. She's a bitch, she's a forerunner of the women's movement. She is complicated. That's all I know for sure.

I have seen enough of the movie in the past to have a very good idea about the story. I was surprised when these extra kids and marriages suddenly showed up in Scarlett's life. Holy cow, she was a busy woman. Maybe I missed something, but I think they cleaned her up just a little for the movie.

Grab a copy with a readable font (I do not recommend reading until your eyes hurt), and give this a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the epic story you'll find within.
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Reading Progress

01/14/2012 page 1
0.0% "I host a Southern Lit challenge on my blog, so people are shocked that I've never read this. I did start it one time when I was probably too young for it, maybe 12 or 13, but I got bored and gave up. My aunt challenged me to read it this year when she found this out back in the fall. So here I am, starting it as a readalong with her. It's her favorite book, so she should be able to coax me through!" 2 comments
01/15/2012 page 41
5.0% "It is disconcerting to find out that I am older than Scarlett O'Hara's mother. Smack!"
01/18/2012 page 90
10.0% "The first "fiddle-dee-dee!"" 2 comments
01/18/2012 page 96
11.0% ""They [the Yankees] would whip us in a month." Ouch. Gotta give Rhett credit for sime big cojones for saying that to a gathering of "likkered up" Southern men eager for war! Smart man too."
01/18/2012 page 97
11.0% ""I don't know [the Borgias]. Is he kin to them? Who are they?.....Oh, foreigners." Oh, Scarlett. Honey. *shakes head*"
01/18/2012 page 105
12.0% ""Sir, you are no gentleman." "And you, Miss, are no lady." Heehee! Probably the first person to put Scarlett in her place in all her 16 spoiled years!"
01/29/2012 page 339
39.0% ""Was Tara still standing? Or was Tara also gone with the wind that had swept through Georgia?" So *that's* where the title comes from. I knew it had to mean something like this, but I didn't know it was taken straight from the book." 2 comments
01/29/2012 page 357
41.0% "OK, so Scarlett's spoiled and selfish, but you have to admire the way that she is stepping up now. Everybody else is just wringing their hands and she is shoving them out to find food. Survival at all costs. That's our Scarlett."
01/30/2012 page 364
42.0% ""Winter was coming..." Who knew Scarlett was related to the Starks? ;-)"
01/30/2012 page 391
45.0% "I don't remember having any earthly use for too-sweet Melanie in the movie, but I'm learning to respect her as Scarlett does. I'm really enjoying watching their relationship change." 11 comments
02/03/2012 page 487
56.0% "SPOILER Am I seeing what I want to here, or is Rhett really upset at the thought of Scarlett plowing, etc? And now he's pushing her away in case he is hanged?"
02/03/2012 page 496
58.0% "Okay, I'll say it again--Scarlett is such a bitch! I admire her for doing what needs to be done, but now she's going too far."
02/04/2012 page 512
59.0% ""Added to it was the usual masculine disillusionment in discovering that a woman has a brain.""
02/05/2012 page 549
64.0% "Wow. That was an uncomfortable few pages. The Reconstruction stuff was eye-opening, but the racist stuff had me squirming."
02/07/2012 page 631
73.0% ""So service in the army wiped out past sins! Melanie had that mixed up with baptism!" LOL!"
02/09/2012 page 721
84.0% "Man. *blinkblink* Melly. I didn't know you had it in you to stand up for someone like that. Too bad your loyalty's wasted on Scarlett."
02/10/2012 page 822
95.0% "Mammy was right about these two being mules, not so much because of their shameless ways, but because of their stubbornness! I just want to reach inside and knock their heads together until they admit they love each other!"
02/10/2012 page 861
100.0% ""My dear, I don't give a damn." Where's the "Frankly"?!?! I feel cheated!" 2 comments
02/10/2012 page 862
100.0% ""After all, tomorrow is another day." Finished at last! I loved it, but after reading it for about a month, I'm quite frankly ready to move on to something else." 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer de Ridder I have been considering giving it another try. My first time was years ago in high school. My Mom and I recently discussed it when we watched the PBS American Masters of Margaret Mitchell. My Mom talked about this being the first book she remembers reading almost non stop and staying up late/ all night to read. Made me want to pick it up again. Thanks for the review.

JG (The Introverted Reader) I don't think it's going to be a book for everyone, but it's definitely worth another look. Once I got hooked this time, I could have kicked myself for holding out so long!

message 3: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat Jen,
It was fun to do the read along with you. I enjoyed it multiple times around. Yes, we will do a movie marathon..mint juleps etc. I also was surprised that in the book some significant facts were left out (children). It is a different era when Margaret Mitchel wrote this book. The history of slavery existed; it was a different world with plantation owners etc. I am thrilled you loved it. It was a different world in the South. One has to be willing to allow themselves to accept this when reading this novel.

You were a great sport to read it and even after reading it several times; I still found Ashley a dreamer and somewhat defeated/wimpy. A romantic who couldn't accept the changes the war brought and destroyed that romantic version. Melanie, I have grown to love each time I read the book. Naive, but totally loved Scarlet. A true Southern lady. Loyal and Rhett Butler adored her and knew she was a true lady with honor and no malice in her heart. She loved Scarlet and would never believe ill of her.

Great review!

JG (The Introverted Reader) Oooh, mint juleps! I've never had one! We have to go the history museum as well.

message 5: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat yes we will. We will have mint juleps

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