Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Reviewed by Christine-Chioma


It's about: Gone with the Wind chronicles the life of Scarlett O'Hara, starting with her vain and picturesque Southern Belle adolescence before the start of the Civil War. The novel describes the culture of the south during that time and describes her family, history, friends, society, and neighbors. It  also depicts Scarlett's relationships, struggles, and triumphs during the war and the devastating aftermath.

I thought: I usually read long books quickly, but Gone with the Wind took painfully longer than I expected. The writing is dense and half-way through the book I couldn't really stand self-centered and superficial Scarlett anymore. I hoped that her character would grow in depth, but that never really happened. It would have been one thing if there were layers to Scarlett's awfulness, but she was a pretty flat character. I could not get understand her motivation for being so selfish. I did appreciate the moments when the book poked fun at Scarlett, but I don't think Mitchell wanted us to hate Scarlett even though that is what ended up happening to me. I soon found myself becoming bored with her antics. I do have to say that some of the supporting characters (Will, Ellen, Rhett, and Melanie) made the book more bearable as they were far more complex than Scarlett.  

Gone with the Wind was more of a romance novel than I expected and the descriptions of kisses and embraces unintentionally made me giggle because they were a little over the top. I was also surprised by how racist the book is; I expected racist comments from the characters themselves, but stereotypical and racist characterizations of the "darkies" was a bit much for me. I had really high expectations of this book, but it failed. I guess I just don't get the appeal? And I promise I am not giving it a negative review because Connie didn't like Middlemarch.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf or Rubbish Bin?  In-Between. I'd actually say rubbish bin, but it is one of those books that you need to say you've read hence in-between

Reading Recommendations: Anyone who feels the need to read every classic book. I've read much better books that deal with the same time period

Warnings: As long as the word "damn" doesn't offend you and you don't mind hearing about women "in the family way", you'll be okay. Also, like I said, it's pretty racist.

Favorite excerpts:

"I'm not sure that was a compliment", she said uncertainly. "It isn't," he answered. "When will you stop looking for compliments in men's lightest utterances?"

Scarlett did take pleasure in it. She bullied the negroes and harrowed the feelings of her sisters not only because she was too worried and strained and tired to do otherwise but because it helped her forget her own bitterness that everything her mother had told her about life was wrong.

"Child, it's a very bad thing for a woman to face the worst than can happen to her, because after she's faced the worst she can't ever really fear anything again. And it's very bad for a woman not to be afraid of something."

Melanie refused to change, refused even to admit that there was any reason to change in a changing world. Under her roof the old days seemed to come back again and people took heart...

What I'm reading next: Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón