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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Aivaz Family said...

My mom is named after Melanie from Gone with the Wind. Just a tidbit for you.

Wendy said...

OK so that explains where you've been for the last few months! I need to read this--the movie is so great, I'm sure the book is even better

Linda said...

Great review! I love when you review your books...you always make me want to read them! Can I download it on my itouch?