Fabian's Reviews > Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites

I’ve said it some time ago: GWTW the novel is like watching the ten hour director’s cut of GWTW the movie! Hell yeah! All the memorable scenes are there, & the spotlit romance is considerably widened in scope, as is the sturdy social studies lesson on the almighty American Civil War. I mean, everyone has the basic idea correct: the South took a tremendous thrashing. But having the loser’s POV take the forefront, even to the extent of exalting the KKK-- this, more than Scarlett O’Hara’s infamous bitchiness but overall fierceness as the antihero of this fantastic tale-- is what I fell in love with. The stars all aligned and for the first time in a long time the general reading audience had it correct. GWTW is a remarkable, unique reading experience.

A reader simply isn’t one unless he or she has faced a behemoth like this one. This, "The Odyssey," "The 1001 Arabian Nights," "Don Quixote," "Lord of the Rings"... are all Musts. All epic & so awesome, THE primordial blockbusters. You have enough time to live with the book, to form a relationship with it, to think about your future together... (It becomes an integral part of yourself…)

Now, what do we get on this journey that is sadly missing in its technicolored, titanic doppelganger? The atrocities shown here of the war are not apt for a rated G film.

The following questions are thoroughly answered... (mild SPOILER ALERT!) In what way did Gerald O'Hara gain ownership of Tara? What invisible connection exists between women and horses? How did the siege of Atlanta take place? Why Atlanta? What is Southern hospitality, really? (Priceless is the mentioning of several ostentatious Atlanta parties with only the Yankee army 22 miles away…! Priceless is the POV of the woman that stayed behind while all men are off to war…! Priceless the interconnections between folks [of course the world population was nil back then!]) And, How has the idea of masculinity changed from the 19th century? What is true sisterhood? What's Post-traumatic stress syndrome?

The townships are fully described. GWTW has many protagonists, as they all add authenticity to the incredibly narrative. If there ever existed a valentine for a city in the elusive form of an epic historical romance, then it is this, for Atlanta! There are additional love stories which parallel Rhett’s and Scarlett’s & several romantic dates between the central lovers. Everyone, it seems, has fallen in love, which adds the hues of Romanticism to the epic Southern Myth. Too, there is sympathy for the devil, scorn for the overly dandified Yankees (They desecrated graves! Raped, and pillaged!), amazement at the aftereffects of the Civil War, including Reconstruction (which takes up many more pages than the war itself!).

Missing from the silver screen? The characters of Wade and Ella, Scarlett’s first- and second-borns. They do nothing but highlight the main character’s flaws and selfishness. Frank Kennedy, also known as Mr. Scarlett O’Hara, the Second. And Will Benteen, the overseer at Tara would be one too many males within Scarlett’s (Vivien Leigh’s) periphery on film. Also: Scarlett almost getting attacked and raped; GWTW’s racy social commentary, all of the men partaking in early KKK activities. I will admit, GWTW is gee-wow! oh-so feminist... but also downright racist!

Scarlett’s consciousness evolves. She turns from spoiled brat teen to fiery, materialistic bitch!! In her brain is the constant battle to get Ashley Wilkes, to get Tara. It is only here that I perceive similarities to “Twilight”: yearnings & adolescent ambivalence. These things, it seems, never change. Also, that Gotterdammerung, or, the dusk of the gods, the end of civilization, is apt to occur in our times, and soon: this is a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled…!

The British have “Wuthering Heights,” “Pride and Prejudice; We got “Gone With the Wind”, an epic so incredible, so full of wuthering heights and perplexing downfalls, so jam packed with southern pride and arrogance, of prejudice and passion, that it is simply sad that its sole detriment is (not its length, nor its melodrama, but) its racist edge. GWTW is the s**t in many respects, but it is the dialogue between the star-crossed lovers (positively Wilde in its cleverness, in its tongue-in-cheekness) which elevates it to a plane higher than its sturdy, more lauded colleagues. Unlike that once-glorious South in the war, with “Gone With the Wind” you, the reader, will not lose...!
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Reading Progress

July 1, 2011 – Started Reading
July 1, 2011 – Shelved
July 16, 2011 –
page 470
45.32%
July 20, 2011 –
page 770
74.25%
July 21, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 26, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)

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message 1: by Terri (new)

Terri The power of this one novel to keep the Southern myth alive cannot be overemphasized. I loved it when I read it at age 12. I played with my Mom's paper dolls from 1938 and I went to the movie at the plaza. I went to the theater in Atlanta where it premiered and I went to the museum across the street. Now I look back and am amazed at my obsession with such a fictional depiction of the South and the Civil War. The "Twilight" of my generation!


Fabian Puhlezzze! “Twilight”? C’mon. See what I mean about mediocrity taking over? Holy shit ! People read THIS? For the first time I agree with the general public… status quo …way to go! I am way too excited about the prospect of getting the 9 ½ hr directors cut of the still amazing film (still in my top ten list)… which is what this is. Its like a found treasure… why cant you teach this? Better than Lord of the Rings, even, gulp, the Quixote! Can I join the club?!?! Mrs Flick: Impeccable taste!


message 3: by Terri (new)

Terri I love your review. Found my Mom's copy from 1938 and am planning to reread it. I hope we can get together when Liana comes into town for the Plaza Classic fest! BTW, there would be no GWTW without the brilliat and mad Vivian Leigh!


message 4: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Fantastic review!


Fabian Kenny wrote: "Fantastic review!"
Thank you /f


Karen Kay Like your review


message 7: by Willow (new)

Willow Madison Fab review of a fave! I would argue one point though: it's sole detriment. IMhO - it has none. The racism is there, in full technicolor, as you've pointed out. It would have to be, though, with the nature and setting, no? To shy away from it would have hobbled this tale. The love and character evolution that you pointed out would not have been as poignant if it was not seen against the backdrop of the pre/post Civil War in all it's ugliness. The ugliness is gifted to the reader as a peripheral character, almost a narrator that dictates the spiral of events. I'm a history buff, and found the depiction of the struggles that surrounded the Civil War to be fictionalized in a meaningfully realistic manner that benefited the overall story, not just the romance.

I will warn you - if you haven't read the so-called 'sequel' to this: don't. Not without a barf bag handy. It's a travesty to everything that was painfully beautiful about this book (IMhO of course).


message 8: by Karen Kay (last edited Aug 30, 2016 04:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen Kay Willow, I agree wih you about the sequel Scarlett although Timothy Dalton made a good Rhett.


message 9: by Willow (new)

Willow Madison haha. He did indeed, Karen!

Oh - and I s'pose I just should put in a disclaimer here for the sake of the less nimble-minded that would like to jump on my post as something it isn't: I am not in anyway supporting racism, in any of its ugly forms. I am, however, supporting that art needs ugliness sometimes to highlight the beauty within it. And that's about as broad-stroke as a painting of words can get in a disclaimer. haha.


message 10: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Fabian, have you read Tolstoy's "War and Peace". Mitchell's work reads very much like Tolstoy's story, but Mitchell never steps into the book and gives herself chapters for history lessons to readers. To me, "Gone" is a far better novel for this very reason.


message 11: by Willow (new)

Willow Madison Greg - I think you bring up an interesting point. Tolstoy's W&P is published a mere years from the date/setting of the book, while Mitchell's takes place in what would have been a generation+ at the time (over 70 yrs) of publication. It's interesting to think that the history would have been included in either book frankly, given that the contemporary audience could have been assumed to know/understand the circumstances of both stories. But more enlightening as a question to ponder maybe is to think that the book with more temporal distance would exclude the history lesson in this case.

I'd venture to say that it's a difference between an author wanting to biographically imprint on the history versus an author wanting to biograph a history.

I'm more of a Dostoyevsky fan myself ;)


Fabian Willow wrote: "Fab review of a fave! I would argue one point though: it's sole detriment. IMhO - it has none. The racism is there, in full technicolor, as you've pointed out. It would have to be, though, with the..."
Reading the novel is an EVENT. And yeah, haven't read Scarlett. I think it was voted worst novel by Entertainment Weekly in one of their lists. Its so alluring to read it, but I will take your advice. Thanks. f


Fabian Willow wrote: "haha. He did indeed, Karen!

Oh - and I s'pose I just should put in a disclaimer here for the sake of the less nimble-minded that would like to jump on my post as something it isn't: I am not in an..."
Second that! Disneyfication reminds sole custody of Disney.


Fabian Greg wrote: "Fabian, have you read Tolstoy's "War and Peace". Mitchell's work reads very much like Tolstoy's story, but Mitchell never steps into the book and gives herself chapters for history lessons to reade..."

I love your declaration. Have not read the lengthy W&P--I think I read 1 or 2 epics a year. Les Mis was good, but yeah, Gone with the Wind remains the most unforgettable of these all.


Fabian Willow wrote: "Greg - I think you bring up an interesting point. Tolstoy's W&P is published a mere years from the date/setting of the book, while Mitchell's takes place in what would have been a generation+ at th..." Wow. f


message 16: by Rao (new)

Rao Javed Kinda slow and boring story. I did not like it.


Fabian Rao wrote: "Kinda slow and boring story. I did not like it."
whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...?....!


message 18: by Rao (new)

Rao Javed Hahaha....sorry sorry. I shouldn't say that.


message 19: by Judi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judi Your review brings up many dark questions. Must reread.


Martina Sanclemente Heale I don't tend to read books again but you managed to make me want it badly!


KAMALAKKANNAN RAVI That's one good review!!


message 22: by BAM (new) - rated it 5 stars

BAM The Bibliomaniac One of my desert island faves


Katarzyna F One of my beloved ones, I have a copy of my own which was really hard to get in my country but what to do when a book becomes a favourite... ;)


message 24: by Erin (new)

Erin Clemence The old classics, Fab! Great choice.


message 25: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie I hardly read review but this I had to, mainly because it was based on Gone With The Wind. Nice Review, now I just have to get to read the book to the end. I read Scarlett first because I had only just watched the movie and I really wanted to give myself some peace with the hope that Rhett and Scarlett got together eventually. So I did not think it was so terrible. I got the GWTW book yesterday.


message 26: by Jeff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff There are so many haunting lines in the novel that are missing in the film, deflating it. Among them, Ashley's confession: "I saw my boyhood friends blown to bits and heard dying horses scream" [that pulls at my chest every time] "...and learned the sickeningly horrible feeling of seeing men crumple up and spit blood when I shot them."


message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan Okay, I need to read this book after that review !


message 28: by Tiffany (new) - added it

Tiffany "A reader simply isn't one unless he or she has faced a behemoth like this one". I love this thought! Great review. Definitely makes me want to move it up on my to-read list.


Fabian Jeff wrote: "There are so many haunting lines in the novel that are missing in the film, deflating it. Among them, Ashley's confession: "I saw my boyhood friends blown to bits and heard dying horses scream" [th..."
Wonderful reminder of exactly how complex and grand this landmark pageturner is! F


message 30: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg Fabian, agreed, this is a must read and for me Gone With the Wind is the American version of Tolstoy's War and Peace, but far better.


Fabian Greg wrote: "Fabian, agreed, this is a must read and for me Gone With the Wind is the American version of Tolstoy's War and Peace, but far better."
Cant wait to get to War and Peace! But Gone will always have a deep and strong presence in my heart. F


message 32: by C-shaw (new)

C-shaw My sister and I are named after characters in the story, and my Mum still knows the entire movie dialogue by heart. I also enjoyed the "sequel" by Donald McCaig, _Rhett Butler's People_.


Fabian C-shaw wrote: "My sister and I are named after characters in the story, and my Mum still knows the entire movie dialogue by heart. I also enjoyed the "sequel" by Donald McCaig, _Rhett Butler's People_."
I hadn't heard of that sequel. "Scarlett" is supposed to be a royal mess. Thanks for the recommendation! F


message 34: by Mohsin (new)

Mohsin Maqbool Beautiful review, Fabian! Keep it up.


Fabian Mohsin wrote: "Beautiful review, Fabian! Keep it up."
Thank you! F


message 36: by Mohsin (new)

Mohsin Maqbool Fabian wrote: "Mohsin wrote: "Beautiful review, Fabian! Keep it up."
Thank you! F"


You are most welcome, Fabian. :)


message 37: by C-shaw (new)

C-shaw Now read _Forever Amber_ by Kathleen Windsor. It's GWTW in 17th C. England!


message 38: by Sarah (new)

Sarah It's funny that I have never seen the movie or read the book. How can that be ?


message 39: by C-shaw (new)

C-shaw Sarah, my mother was so enthralled with the GWTW movie that she memorized every line of it and could repeat the dialogue for many years. She named me after one of the characters and named one of my sisters after the actress who played that character. Mum had it bad!


message 40: by Sarah (new)

Sarah C-shaw that's pretty phenomenal to be able to memorize something like that. My parents were odd about tv watching when we were growing up. Don't ask me why. It's not like that was a bad movie, Wizard of Oz is another one I've never seen. My husband couldn't believe it when he first met me until he met my Mother. Lol ! I'm glad your experience was better


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