I have to say upfront that the story is too sweeping and dramatic for my taste. It was sort of like a soap opera, Civil War style. The characters, except for Mammy perhaps, were tiring. Scarlett is super annoying, Rhett is grating, Ashley is weak, Melanie is naive. Yet for all of that, I found it all surprisingly enjoyable.
What makes Gone With the Wind so striking is how quickly and [seemingly] easily it pulls you into the world of the Confederacy. The only other time that stands out in my mind that I experienced that was with The Good Earth. Interestingly enough, The Good Earth won the Pulitzer only a few years before Gone With the Wind. Being very readable and yet deep and layered is a quality that I find quite impressive.
Some of my favorite quotes:
I tell you they're born queer. Look at the way they go tearing up to New York and Boston to hear operas and see oil paintings. And ordering French and German books by the crate from the Yankees! And there they sit reading and dreaming the dear God knows what, when they'd be better spending their time hunting and playing poker as proper men should.
Throughout the South for fifty years there would be bitter-eyed women who looked backward, to dead times, to dead men, evoking memories that hurt and were futile, bearing poverty with bitter pride because they had those memories.
He felt there was something unbecoming about a woman understanding fractions and business matters and he believed that, should a woman be so unfortunate as to have such unladylike comprehension, she should pretend not to.
A woman had no business even knowing what a mortgage was.
She was twenty-five and looked it, and so there was no longer any need for her to try to be attractive.
Live's under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it's no worse than it is.I read this for the Back to the Classics Challenge: my book with a wartime setting. It was a great experience--I'm glad to have read it--and puts me in the mood to read more about the Civil War. What a great way to experience some history!
Title: Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Published: 1996 Scribner (orig. 1936)
Read For: Back to the Classics Challenge
My Rating: 4.5 stars