Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Name of book: Gone with the wind

Author Name: Margaret Mitchell

ISBN: 0-684-83068-X

Publisher: Scribner

Type of book: young adult-adult, historical, civil war, reconstruction, south 

Year it was published: 1936


Gone with the wind explores the depths of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the bluff red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it brings the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction vividly to life.
This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, ruthless daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War sweep away the life for which her upbringing has prepared her. After the fall of Atlanta she returns to the plantation and by stubborn shrewdness saves her home from both Sherman and the carpetbaggers. But in the process she hardens. She has neared starvation and she vows never to be hungry again.
In these vivid pages live the unforgettable people who have captured the attention of millions of readers-of every age, in every walk of life. Here are Rhett Butler, Scarlett’s counterpart, a professional scoundrel as courageous as Scarlett herself; Melanie Wilkes, a loyal friend and true gentlewoman; and Ashley Wilkes, for whom the world ended at Appomattox. Here are all the characters and memorable episodes that make Gone with the Wind a book to read and re-read and remember forever.

Whether you hate her guts or love her, Scarlett O'Hara is probably the most powerful heroine you might have a chance of encountering, and she's a very complex human being. Although very little personality of her changes for her over the twelve years? (1861 up until 1873?) She isn't painted as a likable heroine and at the start you really hate her guts, especially when she thinks of stealing attention of Ashley Wilkes, of her selfishness, her plots and plans, the way she is towards things, etc. Even if you want to stab her, one really has to appreciate the vivid picture that's painted of the Southern world before, during and somewhat after the Civil War. Each character in this book, from major to minor to barely seen, you really would want to see each separate on them and see their thoughts and hopes.

Ultimately, one of the themes that one learns in the novel is the idea of adaptation, either learn how to swim in life, or start to sink. While the book does have romance in it, but ultimately it's not focused on them getting together and it takes a very long time for Rhett and Scarlett to be together.

Even though the thousand pages is daunting, this is not a boring novel and it has something for everyone; there is action, war, romance, etc. and there was plenty of history for me to enjoy. It starts with Scarlett O'Hara at sixteen in April of 1861 when she goes to the ball and learns that her crush is going to be engaged to another girl named Melanie Hamilton. Then the plot continues and unfortunately the ending is not resolved at all...this is one of the times you would want for there to be more to read instead of only a thousand pages...

Author Information:

Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American author, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for her epic novel Gone with the Wind, her only major publication. This novel is one of the most popular books of all time, selling more than 30 million copies (see list of best-selling books). The film adaptation of it, released in 1939, became the highest-grossing film in the history of Hollywood, and it received a record-breaking ten Academy Awards (a record since eclipsed by Ben Hur, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Titanic). Mitchell has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 1¢ Great Americans series postage stamp. (From wikipedia) 

I first read this novel when I was fourteen or thirteen, either finishing on Valentines Day or starting on Valentines Day (no idea why...) I read it to show off and then read it again. As a teenager I didn't like this novel and felt it was too boring. Little would I know that twelve or so years later, when I read it again, I was amazed at how much I loved it. I loved how the culture, thoughts, ideas, everything became alive. This is a big book, about 1037 long, and I hated when it ended. I'll be honest: I wish this novel was a million pages long or something just so I could know what happens to Scarlett and Rhett. Not once was I bored by this book. I also think that all of the characters, from minor to major deserve a big novel of their own. 
5 out of 5 
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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