Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Favorite Kind of Walk

I realize that I've been very bookcentric in my posts lately, but I've been wanting to post about a certain book for quite a while. When I was a little girl I had a favorite picture book. How can you not love a book that has your own name in the title? The book is called "Jennifer's Walk." It is about a little girl named Jennifer who--you guessed it--goes for a walk. There is a map of her walk in the front and back of the book which I always loved. In one of our moves as a kid, I lost it. That fact has always made me very sad. Occasionally I look for it online (it is out of print) and lament the fact that the existing copies are just too expensive.

Imagine my surprise when I got a package in the mail a few months ago. It was "Jennifer's Walk!" And it was from my mom. How sweet is that? I started bawling when I saw it. I am so happy to have it and so grateful to my mom for such a thoughtful gift. I keep it in a special spot--not on the kids' bookshelf. But Haven loves to read it and we enjoy it together often. Thank you so much mom! Now, if I can only find one of those Mandy dolls...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Wonder it's a Classic

Gone With The Wind Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I never envisioned myself reading this book. I knew it was on several top 100 books of all time lists, and that many people I personally know love it. It just didn't seem to be for me. I was so wrong. There is so much to be said about this book that affected me, but I will stick to just a few points.

I now consider myself to have been fully schooled--from the Confederate side--in Civil War history. Never has a history lesson been so enjoyable and heartbreaking. I believe I have always viewed the Civil War and the South's part in it in a very one-sided way. I guess that I mainly learned that when there is war, individual people are affected, not just collective sides.

I am completely amazed at Mitchell's conception of Scarlett. What complexity in an almost simple minded character! I don't think I have ever loved a character that I've hated so much. It was astonishing to root for such a mean-hearted, selfish and foolish woman. And each time I vowed that I was "done" with Scarlett, she won me back. I was entirely impressed with her personal resolve and determination, but for the people she had to step on to attain her goals. How is it possible to root for someone who is a terrible mother, who mistreats friends and family and employees, and who has no qualms whatsoever about these actions? Yet I did root for her--even to the point where I was heartbroken for her in the end (even though I realize I garner her contempt with my pity).

Melanie was another incredibly complex character for me. I almost wish there could be a counterpart to GWTW written from Melanie's perspective.

The relationship between slaves and the slave owners was so interesting. For instance, Scarlett would talk about her family's slaves as if they were children, yet there were few people who Scarlett would listen to or did not want to disappoint as she did Mammy.

There really is so much more to say about this book. And I will always be glad that I read it.

**Audio Review**Expertly read by Linda Stephens. Her voices were subtle yet distinct. I didn't tire of her through all 50 hours!

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